With Warrington and Hull KR already sure of Super League in 2018 no other side could guarantee joining them in Round Six, but a loss for any of the challenges could signal the end of their quest for automatic promotion and condemn them to the Million Pound Game.
Friday night saw a crucial game for the Catalans Dragons at Hull KRs promotion party while Leigh Centurions were giving their home fixture with Halifax their full attention. Saturday saw Widnes Vikings looking to maintain third spot against the London Broncos while on Sunday Warrington took on Featherstone.
There were more than a few nervous moments for the Dragons who confidently led at half time before a stunning second half comeback from the a Robins side with ten first-teamers missing. The visitors breathed a huge sigh of relief as they managed to fight back and secure a 20-19 win
Leigh Centurions had it all their own way as they put Halifax to the sword and improved their points difference with a 40-6 win. Clare, Reynolds and Brown put the home side 14-0 ahead before a Cahalane converted try reduced the arrears slightly. Brown added his second on half time, this one converted by Reynolds, for a 20-6 lead. In the second half Clare got his second, Brown completed his hat-trick and Hansen and McNally both picked up tries to complete the comprehensive win.
Widnes Vikings knew that a win was crucial after their two competitors won on Friday and they held up their half of the bargain with a 38-16 win over the London Broncos who are now out of contention for the Million Pound Game. London had opened the scoring through Iaone on ten but tries from Whitley, White, Craven and Runciman made it 22-6 at the interval. Craven added his second for Widnes before Sammut scored for the visitors. Two Mellor tries for the Vikings sandwiched one from Dixon for the visitors and the final hooter ended the Broncos dream of a return to Super League.
The final game of the round was on Sunday afternoon in Featherstone where the already promoted Warrington Wolves were the visitors. The Wolves were in party mood and quickly set about demolishing Feví with Hiku, Ratchford and Livett opening up a 16-0 lead after just eight minutes. Hughes added two more and Pomeroy and Savelio both got one each for a 38-0 half time lead. The one-way traffic continued in the second half as the Wolves ran in four more tries through Hiku (to complete his hat-trick), Livett and Johnson for a superb 68-0 victory.
Next Saturdays game in Perpignan between the Dragons and the Vikings is now a sudden death play-off for automatic promotion, with the loser getting a second chance in the Million Pound Game. If the Dragons lose in Round Seven and Leigh beat London, then the Catalans will have to travel to Leigh. If the Vikings lose and Leigh win then it will all come down to the margin of the Vikings loss and the Leigh win to determine who will have home advantage.
It's going to be an exciting couple of weeks in the Qualifiers.
2018 Super League: Warrington Wolves
, Hull KR
, Widnes Vikings
Million Pound Game:
Catalans Dragons v. Leigh Centurions
2018 Championship: London Broncos, Featherstone Rovers, Halifax