RUGBY LEAGUE fanatic Andrew Day (@AndyDay81) highlights the value for Saturday’s Super 8s qualifier between Leigh and Hull KR.
Leigh v Hull KR | Saturday 12th August 2017, 15:15 | Sky Sports
This week I am delving into the Super 8 qualifiers in search of value and the cracking match-up of last season’s Championship winners Leigh against the team last year relegated from Super League, Hull KR, has caught my eye.
The fortunes of both these sides couldn’t be any further than those they were experiencing this time last year and that makes this encounter even more intriguing.
This time last season the Centurions were riding high in the Championship with 21 wins from 23 games and were almost guaranteed their first-ever place in Super League. Confidence was high and this form led to wins over Salford, Huddersfield and Saturdays opponents Hull KR in the Super 8s Qualifiers.
This season however, things are not so positive. Super League has proved a tough cookie to crack for the Centurions and six wins in 23 left them second-from-bottom in the league and their status as a Super League side hanging by a thread.
It is not all doom and gloom, mind. In the penultimate round of Super League they produced one of their best performances of the season beating Salford 25-0 and followed that up last week with an impressive 38-12 win away at Featherstone.
Each of those performances has seen their full back, Gregg McNally, show the form that has attracted Super League interest in the past – scoring two tries in each game – and a similar performance will be needed here.
Just like Leigh, KR’s fortunes couldn’t be further from 2016. This time last season they were second bottom of the Super League with six wins from 23 games and would only go on to win a further three games in the Super 8s qualifiers to consign them to the Championship.
This season however, they are riding high at the top of the Championship with 19 wins from 23 and followed up their good season form with a 26-22 win over Halifax last weekend.
That win over ‘Fax highlighted just how important captain Shaun Lunt is to the side. Still one of the very best hookers in the game, his leadership to this side is vital and his ability to get the best out of star players Maurice Blair and Justin Carney – on his day one of the most destructive wingers in the competition – will be imperative.
The betting angle
The similarities between these two side to last season – although the opposite way around – will help give insight into how this one is going to go.
Last season at this stage, high-flying Leigh beat KR 25-18 in a tight game in which a late Martin Reynolds drop goal was needed to help steady the nerves.
A similar game is expected on Saturday and whilst it is tough to pick a winner, SkyBet’s offer of Hull KR to win with a +10 handicap looks incredible value at 10/11.
Leigh Centurions v Hull KR – Hull KR +10 handicap (10/11 SkyBet)