While round three of the Super League Super Eights cleared up the issue of the League Leaders Shield it still posed more questions than answers from Thursday and Friday nights games.
Wakefield went to Castleford to try and spoil their party, while Leeds used the visit of St Helens to say goodbye to their famous South Stand.
Both of next weeks Cup finalists were in action with Hull FC at home to bottom side Huddersfield and Wigan hosting a Salford Red Devils side looking to halt a long losing streak.
Thursday evening saw the inevitable finally confirmed as a party atmosphere at the Mend-A-Hose Jungle saw Castleford Tigers finally presented with the League Leaders Trophy for finishing the season in top spot, with four games to spare. Despite a couple of early glitches the Tigers destroyed Trinity by 45-20
to secure their first Table Topping season in their ninety-one year history.
Wigan Warriors got the perfect boost for next weekends Wembley Challenge Cup Final with a near perfect performance against an increasingly forlorn Salford Red Devils. O’Loughlin, Burgess and Farrell had established a 16-0 lead in as many minutes. Burgess added a second, and Powell picked up a four-pointer for a 26-0 interval lead. Williams and Nuuausala both score in the first quarter of an hour after the break for 38-0 before Salford's only try of the game came from Evalds with an O’Brien conversion. The final try of the game went to Wigan, and came from Marshall, but Williams couldn't add a sixth goal to his haul leaving Wigan with an 42-6 win. With Salford now seemingly in free-fall, the Warriors are up to sixth, just one point off the top four.
Leeds Rhinos said a fond farewell to the South Stand before the bulldozers move in. The visitors were the Saints and with just two points being the winning margin in the two encounters so far this season, a close game was promised. The game wasn't one of the finest to ever entertain the Southstanders but the result was a close one, the Rhinos coming back from a half-time deficit to record a 16-14
victory. Leeds are now three points clear of third placed Hull FC and just one point away from guaranteeing a top four finish. With four games left they must be the favourites to secure the second home play-off place. Saints still have it all to do and remain just outside the top four on level points with arch-rivals Wigan, the side that the meet in a fortnights time.
The shock of the round was bottom placed Huddersfield Giants 46-18 demolition of Cup Finalists Hull FC. Ellis had given the home side a 6-0 lead before McIntosh and Gaskell edged the Giants ahead. Connor put the Airlie Birds back ahead on twenty-eight but tries for Mellor and a second for McIntosh ensured that it was the visitors who took a 22-12 lead into the interval. Dickinson and Gaskell, with his second, extended the Giants lead after the break before a Griffin try for Hull made it 18-34. To rub salt into the Hull wound, Leeming picked up the Giants seventh try and Gaskell added the eighth to complete his hat-trick on seventy minutes. Perhaps Hull had one eye on defending their Challenge Cup next weekend, but you can't take anything away from the Giants who put in one of their best performances of the season.