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Fresh from their terrific league win over the Bradford Bulls, the Keighley Cougars licked their lips at the prospect of a fourth round Betfred Challenge Cup game against a League One side who have been unable to register a single win so far in their 2023 league campaign as the North Wales Crusaders made their way to darkest West Yorkshire.

The bookies and pundits could see nothing other than a Keighley win as they gave the League One side a thirty-six-point start on the coupon.

The Crusaders have eliminated Thatto Heath Crusaders and the Royal Navy in the earlier rounds while Keighley managed a narrow two-point win over Hunlet in the last round.

The prize on offer was a fifth-round visit to either Hunslet ARLFC or the Batley Bulldogs to try and win a place in the sixth-round draw and a possible trip to one of the Super League giants and the chance of a decent pay day.

Posted by RLFANS News Hound on Sat 1st Apr 2023 4:36 PM
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On paper, the league leaders had a home banker as they welcomed a hapless Hull FC to the Halliwell-Jones Stadium for a Saturday lunchtime game broadcast to a rugby hungry audience on Channel 4.

The Wolves are the only side in Super League with a  one hundred percent record in 2023 as they look for their seventh consecutive win at the start of the season while FC haven´t managed a win in March as they struggle to find any kind of form under the coaching of new boss Tony Smith.

The Wolves were big favourites to continue their great run with the pundits and bookies heavily tipping them for the win, but the Airlie Birds came into the game knowing that they must turn the corner at some point and why wouldn´t that be today?
Posted by RLFANS News Hound on Sat 1st Apr 2023 2:49 PM
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Fourth took on seventh as two sides tied on six points in the fledgling table met at Craven Park in the televised Friday night game with the home side installed as slight favourites with the bookies and giving the Rhinos a two point start on the handicap coupon.

With St Helens taking on bottom side Wakefield the likelihood was that either of these two sides would need a big winning margin to end the night in fourth on points difference, but both would probably settle for the top half of the table after round seven.

KR welcomed back Jordan Abdull to their line up but were without Shaun Kenny-Dowall, while the Rhinos were without Richie Myler and Nene MacDonald while they gave a debut to Luke Hooley at full back and welcomed Mikael Oledzki back into the side.

Posted by RLFANS News Hound on Fri 31st Mar 2023 9:52 PM
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Round Seven of Super League 2023 got underway with the Battle of the Borough as Leigh Leopards hosted the Wigan Warriors with eighth toaking on third with local bragging rights up for grabs between the two sides located just eight miles apart.

Adrian Lam was facing his past employers as he took on Matt Peet´s side in a game which few were brave enough to call, but the which the bookies were leaning towards an away win having given the Leopards an eight-point start on the handicap coupon.

In front of a record Leigh Sports Village home crowd, a fifty-point win would lift the Leopards above Wigan into third spot, but a win of any kind would see them spend the night in fourth.

A win for the visitors would see them up to second in the table, at least until the Dragons play on Saturday evening.

Posted by RLFANS News Hound on Thu 30th Mar 2023 9:55 PM
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A West Yorkshire derby between Keighley Cougars and the Bradford Bulls drew a big crowd of well over four thousand as the visitors looked to continue their great run which see´s them keeping pace with the top sides in the Championship.

The Bulls travelled to Cougar Park sitting pretty in fourth place in the Championship table but after a disappointing start to their campaign the Cougars were in tenth spot but aware that a win would lift them into the top half of the table.

The Cougars were slight underdogs with the bookies, having been given a six-point start on the handicap coupon, but inside a packed stadium the hope was for a close, competitive and as always, noisy game.

Posted by RLFANS News Hound on Sun 26th Mar 2023 4:47 PM
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It was a bottom half of the table four pointer as Hull FC took on the Leigh Leopards as ninth travelled to tenth as both sides looked for their third win of the season and a jump up the league table.

The Leopards won last time out but the Airlie Birds have lost their last three.

Both sides were keen for the win to get the lift of a win and move towards the top half of the table.

The bookies made the home side the favourites and had given Leigh a four-point start in the handicap coupon, but it was too nervous sides, and anything could happen.

Posted by RLFANS News Hound on Sat 25th Mar 2023 4:44 PM
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One of the two remaining Super League one-hundred-percenters, the Catalans Dragons, took on a Round Six trip to Emerald Headingley to take on a Leeds Rhinos side who suffered defeat at the hands of Castleford Tigers last weekend as they continued their indifferent start to the new campaign.

A win by forty-seven points or more would lift the Dragons above Warrington on points difference and into top spot in the table, while a win by forty points or more would see the Rhinos above Hull KR and into fourth spot.

In reality, neither winning margin was likely.

The Dragons were slight favourites with the bookies, but they were struggling to find much difference between the two sides, the Rhinos only getting a measly two-point start on the handicap coupon.

Posted by RLFANS News Hound on Sat 25th Mar 2023 2:54 PM
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It was third against fourth in round six as the Wigan Warriors took on the Salford Red Devils in the game of the round at the JJB Stadium.

A win for either side would secure third spot at the end of the weekend and keep them in touch with the two sides who have recorded five wins from five so far in 2023, Warrington Wolves and the Catalans Dragons.

Wigan were the favourites to make home advantage pay, Paul Rowley´s side getting a twelve point start on the handicap coupon against Matt Peet´s charges.

Posted by RLFANS News Hound on Fri 24th Mar 2023 9:46 PM
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The opening fixture of round six of Super League pitted fifth placed Huddersfield Giants against sixth placed St Helens as both sides looked for their third win of the season and a chance to end the evening in fourth spot in the table.

The two sides should have met in the opening fixture of 2023 but that game was postponed due to the World Club Challenge commitment of St Helens who were in Australia to face the Penrith Panthers.

Most eyes this week would be on Jake Connor who would make his Giants debut off the bench, and on a St Helens side who have still to for on all cylinders in the current Super League campaign as they looked to justify the bookies favourites tag.

Posted by RLFANS News Hound on Thu 23rd Mar 2023 9:50 PM
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Super League´s only pointless side, Wakefield Trinity, had an ominous looking trip to the AJ Bell Stadium to take on an in form Salford Red Devils in the final game of round five on Sunday afternoon.

The Red Devils were big favourites for the win, especially after running in sixty points against Hull FC last time out but would need a big points win to improve their league position.

Wakefield haven´t scored a single point in their last three outings and had been conceding at the rate of thirty-three points a game.

There could only be one winner.

Posted by RLFANS News Hound on Sun 19th Mar 2023 4:54 PM
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Hull KR had this week’s trip to France to take on a high-flying Catalans Dragons who were seeking a win by twenty-three or more points to go above the Warrington Wolves to the top of the table and to maintain their one-hundred-percent start to the season.

The Robins and their fans made the journey knowing that if they could enter the cauldron of the Stade Gilbert Brutus and emerge with the precious points then they would be up to fourth place in the table after the opening five rounds of the competition.

The Dragons were made the bookies favourites with home advantage but with KR having just a twelve point start on the handicap coupon there was some certainty that this would be a competitive game with the visitors having a chance of springing a surprise.

Posted by RLFANS News Hound on Sat 18th Mar 2023 6:34 PM
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The sides starting the evening sat in ninth and tenth spots in the fledgling Super League 2023 table met at the Totally Wicked Stadium as St Helens took on Hull FC with the prize on offer being a spot in the top half of the table.

Most pundits thought that this would be the game where Saints would restart their domestic campaign after a couple of recent blips against the Rhinos and the Leopards, while few Airlie Birds fans had any optimism about a likely successful outcome of a trip across the Pennines to take on the reigning World Champions.

Hull were given an eighteen-point start on the coupon, it was Saints opportunity to fill their boots and compound Tony Smith´s misery.

Posted by RLFANS News Hound on Fri 17th Mar 2023 9:51 PM
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Just when you thought that things couldn´t get any worse for winless second bottom side Castleford Tigers; they announce that they have lost mercurial utility-back Jake Mamo to a career ending back injury; and then they have to face a Leeds Rhinos side who arrived at the Jungle for the derby game on the back of two wins as they look to continue their good form after a disappointing start to their season.

A win for the Rhinos would lift them to third in the table ahead of the rest of the weekend games and a win by twenty-three or more points would push the Tigers into bottom spot on points difference.

The Tigers needed a ninety-six point victory to raise them up by a single place in the table.

The Rhinos were favourites with the bookies but only just, the home side having been given an eight-point start on the handicap coupon.

Posted by RLFANS News Hound on Thu 16th Mar 2023 9:44 PM
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After a great weekend of Betfred Challenge Cup ties with plenty of excitement and the odd upset, the draw for the fourth and fifth rounds took place at Millom ARLFC who are celebrating their 150th year in 2023.

There are sixteen survivors from Round Three which was played over the weekend including community sides Hunslet ARLFC and Rochdale Mayfield, and of course Halifax Panthers who eliminated top of the Championship side, Featherstone Rovers on Sunday afternoon.

Round Four will be played over the weekend of the 30th March to 2nd April while the Fifth Round will take place over the 20th to 23rd April.

The four sides which remain at the end of the fifth round will be joined by the twelve Super League clubs for the sixth round draw.

Posted by RLFANS News Hound on Wed 15th Mar 2023 6:05 PM
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It was the tie which neither side wanted as Featherstone Rovers were drawn out of the hat to play a third round fixture against fellow Championship side, the Halifax Panthers.

An all-conquering Featherstone are currently sat atop the Championship while Halifax are seventh and tucked in nicely as part of the chasing pack.

The two sides met a month ago in the league, Featherstone securing a 46-22 win which made them clear favourites to win this afternoon’s game which was broadcast live on The Sportsman on YouTube.

A place in the fourth round awaited.

Posted by RLFANS News Hound on Sun 12th Mar 2023 4:39 PM
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It was the battle of the Crusaders in the third round of the Betfred Challenge Cup as Thatto Heath played hosts to North Wales in the game selected by the BBC for streaming to the nation.

The North Wales Crusaders made the sixty-mile trip to St Helens in the full knowledge that one of the top sides in the Premier Division of the National Conference League would be confident of taking their scalp.

The two sides last met in the fourth round of this competition in 2019 when Thatto Heath took the spoils with a 16-14 win and were rewarded with a fifth round trip to Dewsbury Rams.

Heath beat Saddleworth Rangers in the last round while the North Wales side handed out a thrashing to the Royal Navy.

Posted by RLFANS News Hound on Sun 12th Mar 2023 2:05 PM
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Hull FC had their hopes set on a jump from eighth to third spot in the table which would be achieved from a home win against a Salford Red Devils side who themselves knew that a decent points win could lift them from tenth to a position inside the top five as the final game of round four took place on Saturday afternoon.

Both sides suffered defeat last time out, FC being walloped by the Catalans Dragons while Salford lost to league leaders Warrington Wolves.

Both coaches made wholesale changes as they chased the result although the freezing conditions were as likely to play a role equally as important as team selection.

Posted by RLFANS News Hound on Sat 11th Mar 2023 4:42 PM
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Today's televised Friday night match – Huddersfield v Castleford at the former's John Smith's Stadium spent much of the day in doubt.

With heavy snow sweeping across the north of England, fans woke to warnings that the game might not take place as neither club nor stadium officials could reach the  ground.

The M62 over the Pennines - which Sky's outside broadcast team needed to cross after last night's Wigan v Catalans tussle - was blocked and littered with abandoned vehicles.

Fans were warned not to set off until there was an official announcement that the match was on, but that came well into the afternoon.

Posted by tb on Fri 10th Mar 2023 10:04 PM
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As winter shook it´s angry fist at the north of England for the first time in 2023, the Rhinos had taken all necessary precautions to ensure that tonight´s match against bottom of the table Wakefield Trinity would be able to go ahead despite ample snow covering the side roads surrounding Headingley Stadium.

Wakefield came into the game still seeking their opening win of the new campaign while the Rhinos were looking to double up after their sensational last-gasp victory over World Club Champions St Helens in the last round at the Totally Wicked Stadium.

The bookies could see only one winner, giving Trinity a sixteen-point start on the coupon, but the Rhinos went into the game fully aware that they were massive underdogs last time out and still came away with the points.

Posted by RLFANS News Hound on Fri 10th Mar 2023 9:50 PM
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Second placed Catalans Dragons looked to maintain their perfect start to the season as they travelled to Wigan to take on a Warriors side who are tucked in behind them in third spot, recovering brilliantly after losing their opening 2023 fixture at Hull KR in the opening round.

Wigan were strong favourites with the bookies after not conceding a single point in their last two outings, the Dragons being given a fourteen-point start on the handicap coupon, but a win of any description would be enough to lift either the Warriors or the Dragons to the top of the table ahead of tomorrow night’s fixtures.

The snow had started falling in the lead up to kick off and it was bitterly cold as the two sides shivered their way onto the pitch.

Posted by RLFANS News Hound on Thu 9th Mar 2023 9:48 PM
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