All Eyes on Huddersfield in the Super 8s
Rugby League enters the second stage of its exciting new era this weekend when the race for success in the Super 8s, the Qualifiers and the Championship Shield begins.
With the bottom four sides in Super League now joining the top four Championship sides in the battle for a place in the elite competition in 2016, the top eight Super League sides are now competing for a top-four finish and a chance at making the Grand Final in October.
With points from the first 23 rounds of the season being carried over; Leeds, St Helens and Wigan look to have already secured a top-four finish as it would take a calamitous final seven games to see either team miss out.
The team currently occupying fourth spot are Huddersfield and all the attention of the next seven rounds will be to see if Paul Anderson’s side are capable of holding on to the final semi-final spot or if they slip-up.
The Giants have accumulated 28 points from the opening 23 rounds and are ahead of Castleford with 26 points and Warrington who have 24.
While Hull FC only trail by six points that should be too much of a deficit to overturn in seven games.
The focus of the Super 8s will therefore be on those three sides with the outcome of the matches between the trio holding a huge significance.
Huddersfield’s fourth place finish after the regular season means they are rewarded with four home fixtures in the Super 8s, and home advantage could be crucial against Castleford and Warrington.
The Giants have interestingly won both home and away ties against the Tigers and Wolves so far this season.
Paul Anderson’s men have also avoided a difficult away trip to Catalans, and having won five of their last six games in the league are in pole position to take the fourth spot in the final table.
Remarkably, Huddersfield lost their opening three fixtures but have turned their season around.
The Giants have picked up two draws, at home to Leeds as well as a last-gasp Jermaine McGillvary try securing a point at the Magic Weekend against Catalans. How crucial those two points could be in the final standings remains to be seen.
The Giants begin their Super 8s campaign away to Wigan on Thursday night as they look to show their rivals that they are not giving up fourth spot without a fight.