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Opinion

Super League relegation battle already looks tense

04 Mar 20, 11:18AM 0 Comments

Written by Zack Wilson

Photo by Getty Images

Toronto Wolfpack and Hull Kingston Rovers currently look like the two sides who will be tussling over relegation from Super League this season.

Hull KR tumbled to their fourth successive defeat against Castleford Tigers at Hull College Craven Park last Thursday evening.

The final score of 28-8 in the Tigers’ favour was probably a fair enough reflection of the game in the end.

Cas scored 22 points in the second half, as Rovers fell away after a strong showing in the game’s first half.

Rovers missed 22 tackles in the game, a disturbing stat especially as many of those tackles were missed in the middle areas of the field.

Rovers also had injury worries, with a disturbingly long list if absentees for the match, including their first-choice spine of Adam Quinlan, Jamie Ellis, Jordan Abdull and Matt Parcell.

The Robins look light up the middle, too, with the big absence being, of course, Mose Masoe.

The Samoan prop is continuing his inspiring recovery from a spinal injury right now, and he will not count on the salary cap even though Rovers are continuing to pay his wages.

Further damage was done to the Robins pack with the news that Dean Hadley and Mitch Garbutt were both being checked out, for head knocks and illness.

Tony Smith confirmed after the game that both players would hopefully be fit for Rovers’ next match.

They really cannot afford to lose any more players, with a challenging set of fixtures on the immediate horizon.

Rovers’ battle against the drop was helped by St Helens hammering Toronto Wolfpack 32-0 on Saturday evening at Headingley.

Toronto Wolfpack have injury issues of their own, of course, but the Canadian side also looked to have a heap of other problems on their hands in their defeat to St Helens on Saturday evening.

Some of the Wolfpack’s execution of basic skills was awful for players of such experience.

It was awful for professional players of any level of experience, actually.

To see players like Jon Wilkin seeming to forget how to time passes was not particularly edifying. Nor was seeing Bodene Thompson get red-carded for a shoulder charge to the head of Matty Lees.

Wolfpack look like a side in trouble. One major difference between them and Hull KR is that Rovers never give up.

There are plenty of young players in that Rovers squad with points to prove. The same cannot be said of Toronto’s merry band of mercenaries.

If things do go down to the wire when it comes to relegation from Super League in 2020, Tony Smith has more reason to be optimistic than Brian McDermott.

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