Super League Tips | 23rd-24th February 2018
Here are Andrew Day’s best bets for Round 3 of the Super League…
The Red Devils return to action after a week off against Super League new boys Hull KR and will be looking to pick up their first points of the season.
An opening day defeat to Wigan was followed up by a much-improved performance against Wakefield Trinity – losing by only two points and full back Gareth O’Brien missing a conversion in last minute.
Hull KR on the other hand got their first points on the board with an impressive 23-4 win over Catalan Dragons last week and whilst the lack of a week off could hand the advantage to the Red Devils, KR will look at the increased confidence a win brings.
These sides met only once last season in the Challenge Cup, with the Red Devils running out winners 24-14 courtesy of a late Ben Murdoch-Masila try.
With the lack of previous encounters to look at, form is the best guide here. Salford are in a barren run of form, winning only once in their last 12 games. In that period, they have conceded 406 points – an average of 33.8 per game – and have scored 14 points or less in 9 of those games.
Hull KR on the other had have won 6 of their last 12 games including the scalps of Super League teams Widnes Vikings, Leigh Centurions (at the time!) and Catalan Dragons. Furthermore, in amongst those 6 defeats KR scored 22 points against Huddersfield Giants and 24 points against Warrington Wolves.
In fact, they have scored an average of 20.5 points in their last 12 games – an impressive feat given they were a Championship club against Super League opposition for the majority of those games
Whilst both these clubs have been tipped for the wooden spoon, I see way too much in the form to doubt Salford winning by a margin of 6 points.
Like Salford, Castleford also had a week off and will look to take the confidence from their first win of the season – a 13 – 12 win over the Widnes Vikings – and kick start their 2018 campaign.
Hull FC however, have had a busy start to the season. An opening day win over Huddersfield Giants was followed by a trip to Australia to take part in the first ever Super League fixture held outside of Europe. They were defeated 24 – 10 by the Wigan Warriors and last weekend lost 24-18 to St George Illawarra Dragons. Although no shame in loosing to an NRL side, the energy sapping trip to the Southern Hemisphere and the lack of wins to show for it leave many questions to be answered.
These sides met four times last season and despite Castleford going on to the Grand Final, Hull won 3 of those 4 encounters scoring 22 points or over in all four of their meetings. In fact, in all but one of the games, both teams score 22 points or more with an entertaining average of 54 match points scored.
Despite a shaky start to the season, the Tigers are still in good form. 8 wins in their last 12 games and an average point score of 23 per game mean – despite an opening day humbling by St Helens – the Tigers are a very dangerous proposition and will be looking to take advantage of Hulls inevitable tiredness and chalk up another 2 points.Hull have 6 wins in their last 12 games and worryingly have a point conceded per game average of 20.5.
Whilst both clubs have been tipped to go far this season, I see the rest Castleford have had against the tiredness Hull will be experiencing as too much of a factor for this to be as tight as many expect.