Hull KR set for Wolves upset
Ian Millward previews this weekend's fixtures in the Tetley's Challenge Cup and thinks Hull KR are capable of springing a surprise.
- Related Content
I have seen Batley win on the handicap a couple of times at home against Super League teams like London and Huddersfield so they have a very good record. It is a small ground again that goes up and down hill while John Kear has a great knack of getting the best out of his players in Challenge Cup matches. Cas know they will win this and that will be the first time this year mentally for them so it may be a little tougher to cope with. Cas to prevail but Batley are good value with the start.
The biggest problem for the Bulls is their shortage of troops and it is game they obviously need to win for financial reasons. I just can't see how Oldham will stay inside the handicap as Bradford have enough decent players to have a good win and restore some confidence. It is a big pitch and the wide spaces will be tough for the Oldham players to cope with so the Bulls can win and cover.
Widnes are a workmanlike team but are doing exceptionally well but workmanlike teams in Challenge Cups can struggle to cover the start. Widnes will win but it is an away trip and they are not easy and I expect Halifax to score some points. Take the hosts on the handicap because they will see this as their Grand Final and Widnes will be happy just to progress.
A few players stood up for Hull KR last week - one was Travis Burns while Michael Weyman also played well. They have dominated in their last two games and been very strong defensively so this is a tough one for Warrington. They don't have the same depth in their forwards and they obviously lack the creativity in attack now of the retired Lee Briers. That has shown in some games and if there is going to be an upset, it could come from Hull KR. They are at home, not conceding points so this is a tough one for the Wolves. Get with the hosts and the points as this looks a great time for them in a knockout game against a big team.
You won't see Leeds get beaten here even though Wakefield have shown some good form against the Rhinos at home. There were some issues with the Wakefield team last week in regards to defence and attack and their confidence will have taken a knock. Leeds will have been disappointed they could not roll over a Saints team missing key players and they will come out here and redeem last week's loss and be in the next round.
If this had been last year then Saints would have been getting the start and been the outsiders. But things have changed with new players at St Helens and a lack of consistency from the Giants, so can the visitors cope without key players? Can the young players do as well as last week but this time away from home? Playing in front of a partisan home crowd is great for a youngster but at Huddersfield, who have a big pack of forwards, it will be a very big test. My heart says St Helens but my head says this is a tricky one for them and coach Nathan Brown would give up everything to have Luke Walsh back. There is a chance he may play and if that is the case they will win and cover but we have to work on the theory he won't be there so go for the upset and a Huddersfield win.