Set of Six: The Super 8s and Qualifiers come to a head as Baz dusts off his boots
Last Updated: 19/09/16 5:22pm
Barrie McDermott back on the playing field and top-of-the-table clashes in the Super 8s and Qualifiers feature in our Set of Six this week.
The battle for survival
This year's Super 8s Qualifiers have made for captivating viewing and we are set up for a tense final round as two Super League sides battle it out for survival.
Hull KR host Huddersfield on Saturday, live on Sky Sports, and the winner will secure a third-place finish and top-flight rugby in 2017. The losers will have a week to regroup ahead of the Million Pound Game.
Hull KR have recorded back-to-back wins over London and Featherstone while Huddersfield bounced back from their horror show at Leigh with an impressive victory over Leeds.
"It's been in our hands for a while but we've not managed to get it sorted," said Giants head coach Rick Stone.
"Obviously we know the equation now. It's like a sudden-death semi-final, although the winners won't go on.
"It will be interesting and a good challenge. We've got to win one of our next two games and I'd like to see us get it done next week so we can move on to next year."
Salford and London are competing for fifth spot and a place in the Million Pound Game. The Broncos recorded a stunning win at the AJ Bell Stadium last Saturday to move level on points with the Red Devils, although Ian Watson's side still boast a superior scoring difference.
London must beat Featherstone on Sunday and hope Batley do them a favour and defeat Salford.
Tempers flare at Widnes
St Helens are building plenty of momentum ahead of the Super League semi-finals and claimed their 10th victory in 11 games at Widnes on Sunday.
The visitors did not look back after Adam Swift had grabbed a brace of tries inside the opening 10 minutes, while Matty Fleming and Atelea Vea crossed the whitewash in the second half, with Luke Walsh adding five points with the boot.
There was a controversial finish at the Select Security Stadium, however, as a huge brawl resulted in red cards for Vikings duo Kevin Brown and Patrick Ah Van. Referee James Childs also brandished a yellow card to St Helens' Joe Greenwood.
Saints assistant boss Jamahl Lolesi insisted the visitors did nothing to trigger the all-in melee.
"I couldn't see what happened but from what I've been told by the lads it was just us reacting - we didn't go looking for a fight," he said.
Widnes boss Denis Betts said he missed all the trouble.
"I didn't see it. It was pushing and pushing but I didn't see it. I came down the stairs and I see Kev walking off and then Pat walking a minute later," Betts said.
"I can make something up for you but it was handbags at dawn, frustration. It looked a frustrating game. There were three very, very poor performances out there today."
Top of the table clash
Last season we were treated to an incredible finish to the regular season. A helicopter had the league leaders shield ready to deliver to the winning team, and we didn't know who that would be until Ryan Hall tore down the field to score against the Giants.
This year it's not quite as close, but all eyes will be on Hull FC v Warrington, live on Sky Sports 2.
Barring a miracle 90-point win for Wigan over the Dragons, the winner between the Challenge Cup champions and the Wolves will lift the 2016 league leaders shield.
However, Wigan still stand to benefit this weekend. Unless there is a draw at KCOM Stadium the loser will be leapfrogged by the Warriors if they beat Catalans, which means Shaun Wane's men will take the second semi-final spot.
It's a tantalising game between the two teams that fought it out at Wembley in a game that went down to the final minute. Who will come out on top this time?
Solomona the record-breaker
Denny Solomona has written himself into the Super League record books after his double against Catalans took him to an incredible 37 tries for the season.
There were concerns over whether we would see the New Zealander again this season after he limped through the closing stages of Castleford's loss to St Helens, but he was back to his best as the Tigers won in Perpignan for the first time since 2010.
Solomona crossed twice in four first-half minutes to break Lesley Vainikolo's 12-year record and boost Castleford's hopes of a top-five finish.
"Clearly it takes a lot of doing," said Tigers head coach Daryl Powell. "He's been on the end of some outstanding left-edge plays and I thought Luke Gale gift-wrapped a couple of tries for him tonight.
"Obviously he's had some great finishes this year but he's had some great service too."
Where next for Hardaker?
Zak Hardaker's debut season in the NRL came to an end on Sunday when Penrith were beaten by the Canberra Raiders.
The England international is on a short-term loan deal with the Panthers but remains contracted with Leeds Rhinos until the end of 2019.
Leeds say they have planned for 2017 without Hardaker, who remains on the transfer list with a £300,000 price tag, but will he remain in the NRL or is a return to Super League on the cards?
Penrith have first refusal on the 24-year-old but there are believed to be four Super League clubs interested, including Catalans.
There will be big changes at the Dragons during the close season, with Todd Carney and Dave Taylor expected to follow Glenn Stewart, Greg Mounis and Olivier Elima through the exit door.
That would free up room on the wage bill for Hardaker, although Laurent Frayssinous has played down speculation.
"I have never been in contact with Zak or his manager," he said. "What I do know is that Zak is a good player, an international player.
"But, no, nobody has contacted me regarding him."
Barrie v Terry v Kevin Sinfield
A slightly sore Barrie McDermott lauded the efforts made by the community to raise money for the Steve Prescott Foundation on Sunday. The 44-year-old took part in a charity match between the Class of the 90s and the Class of the 80s, hosted at Waterhead ARLFC, along with Terry O'Connor.
Kevin Sinfield was involved in the encounter, but Barrie believes his former Rhinos team-mate won't be feeling the effects quite as much in the wake of the match.
"He's the type who prepares for games like that," said the Sky Sports pundit. "I just pitch up and get stuck in."
Tickets to the game were free, and after good weather doubled the anticipated crowd, over £5,000 was raised for the foundation.
"Even more impressively than that though," added McDermott. "Waterhead said they took six months' worth of bar takings on the day.
"I wasn't responsible for all of it."
For more information on Barrie's efforts to raise money for the Steve Prescott Foundation, including taking on Everest, click here.