Wane: It’s been a strange season

Shaun Wane still expects Leeds and Huddersfield to be challenging for trophies
Shaun Wane still expects Leeds and Huddersfield to be challenging for trophies

Shaun Wane admits Super League’s unpredictability has made the competition more vibrant.

But he still expects the faltering giants to be challenging for trophies.

Huddersfield – a top-four side for the past three years – are rock bottom of the table with just one win from their opening nine games.

And Leeds are just one place above them with one more win on the board, 10-points behind second-placed Wigan.

By contrast, Widnes are third in the ladder on 12 points, with Catalans and Hull FC snapping at their heels, giving a fresh look to the top of the ladder.

While Wane says the unpredictable results have made this season interesting, he believes there is enough time for both Leeds and Huddersfield to make up lost ground.

He said: “It’s been a very strange season.

“It’s great for the league, it’s unpredictable and exciting.

“You would never have imaged that both Leeds and Huddersfield would be down there, even with the players they’ve lost – but it’s still very early days.

“I still think both of those sides will be up there at the end, Leeds especially.

“They have too many good players to stay where they are. They are going through a bad spell, but I think they’ll find their form.

“I don’t get carried away with the week-to-week results. It’s a long, long season and it’s how you finish that counts.”

With the Super League splitting into the super 8s phase after round 23, the first priority for Leeds and Huddersfield will be climbing into the top eight and avoiding a fight for their top-flight status through the ‘Qualifiers’.

For those in the top eight, there are then seven further games for teams to try and book a spot in a top-four play-offs.

Wigan are next in action on Sunday at Wakefield, who have won three games on the bounce under new coach Chris Chester.

As expected, Liam Farrell will miss the game after he accepted a one-match ban.

He took advantage of an early guilty plea – rather than face the RFL disciplinary and risk a two-game ban – after being cited for striking with the knees. It followed his late challenge on try-scorer Stefan Ratchford which resulted in a rare eight-point try against Warrington, in the 28-16 defeat.

Meanwile, Warriors under-19s are preparing for tomorrow night’s trip to Salford after being put through a ‘difficult test’ by Castleford.

Assistant coach Martin McLoughlin praised the under-19s after their their 39-20 taming of Castleford Tigers, acknowledging his side had to ‘dig in’.

Tomorrow’s under-19s clash at the AJ Bell Stadium kicks off at 7pm.