GIVEN most of the top sides kept performing and most of the lesser sides maintained their own status quo, there has been hardly any change in The Yorkshire Post Power Rankings this week.
Indeed, only five of the dozen clubs shifted position but there was no knocking Hull off top spot especially after their stunning 47-18 Challenge Cup win at St Helens.
The biggest movers are Castleford Tigers who deserve great credit for their against-all-odds Cup win over Salford and duly move up two places to fifth.
1 Hull FC (no change)
I have been holding off and holding off given their predilection for so many false dawns but I have to accept defeat; Hull FC do actually seem to be the real deal after all.
An astonishing result at St Helens served to highlight to the rest of Super League that Lee Radford’s side are genuine contenders and you could easily see them now get to at least one final and potentially claim some silverware.
That prediction, of course, will now sound their death knell and they will probably go and lose at Wigan on Friday but there, I’ve said it…..
2 Catalans Dragons (no change)
Overcame a tricky Cup tie at Baltey, proving patient as their part-time opponents dug in during the first half but then showing their class.Like Hull, the French side are showing no signs of being a flash in the pan and Laurent Frayssinous - for so long lambasted - has to be given great credit for turning them around.
Huddersfield Giants are the latest side venturing to Perpignan this weekend knowing they will be in for yet another fierce battle.
3 Wakefield Trinity (no change)
Did not have it all their own way against League 1 Toulouse in the Challenge Cup and, indeed, looked at one point to be on the verge of a major shock.
Nevertheless, they rode out that rocky patch and emerged victorious something Trinity sides of recent vintage would probably not have been able to do so credit to them.
And Tom Johnstone bagged another four tries….
4 Warrington Wolves (no change)
Went behind against minnows Oldham but never any chance they would succumb as Hull KR did.
Tony Smith’s side rattled off 70 points and will look to cement their place at the top of Super League when they return to that competition at Wakefield on Sunday.
The Wire machine is running along smoothly.
5 Castleford Tigers (+2)
Take a bow Paul McShane. The hooker-cum-scrum-half was a revelation as he helped out his depleted side with a fine performance leading Castleford to a famous Challenge Cup win over Salford Red Devils.
As gutsy as a display as you are likely to see from Daryl Powell’s depleted side, he is rightly proud of their continued efforts.
Now on to Headingley and hopefully with crocked players fit again to resume….
6 Wigan Warriors (-1)
Drop a place through no fault of their own, Wigan did all they needed to do in defeating Dewsbury in the Cup.
The challenge of Hull FC this week will be far sterner.
Will the canny ability of Shaun Wane’s side to win without playing great finally fall short against the in-form Airlie Birds? Should be fascinating at DW Stadium.
7 St Helens (-2)
Keiron Cunningham labelled his side’s meek Challenge Cup exit at home to Hull FC as “embarrassing” and that probably best sums it up.
I don’t think anyone saw that coming; defeat? Possibly. But surrender? A worrying sight for him.
Salford Red Devils arrive at Langtree Park on Friday and they won’t be any easier either.
8 Huddersfield Giants (+1)
Three wins from four for Paul Anderson’s improving side or, alternatively, back-to-back victories over Leeds Rhinos, depending which way you want to look at it.
Either way, they are starting to re-discover some of their “Giant-ness” as the Challenge Cup win over Leeds demonstrated; pragmatic, dogged and efficient.
A trip to the south of France this weekend might hinder their recovery but they did taste success their last year so….
9 Salford Red Devils (-1)
Came unstuck at Wheldon Road when, really, they should have pushed on into the Challenge Cup quarter-finals.
Out-enthused, though, and found wanting again, Ian Watson will want to see an improvement in attitude, at least, at St Helens this Friday.
Junior Sa’u remains a formidable presence, however, and Robert Lui brings class to the six role so always dangerous.
10 Widnes Vikings (no change)
As expected, did not have it all their own way against Halifax who once more, as in last season’s Qualifiers, did Championship rugby proud with their performance in Sunday’s Challenge Cup tie.
Given their recent form, though, Widnes will take any sort of win and Denis Betts will hope that can turn their campaign around.
They need something to try and re-discover their early season elan and verve.
11 Hull KR (no change)
No game for Rovers last weekend due to their Challenge Cup exit but no complaints as it allows them time to ready some more troops for a return to action when Widnes Vikings arrive on Sunday.
Will be an emotional day following Roger Millward’s recent death.
The majority of the legendary player’s former colleagues from that epic 1980 Challenge Cup final win, including Brian Lockwood, Allan Agar and Len Casey, will form a guard of honour for his family, who will be presented with the number 6 shirt shortly before kick-off to commemorate it being officially retired in his honour.
12 Leeds Rhinos (no change)
Yet another defeat for the champions this time in the Challenge Cup which sees them lose their two year grip on the famous trophy.
Expecting a raft of players to return for Thursday’s derby with Castleford Tigers but will it turn around their dismal season?
Chief executive Gary Hetherington has declared there is no reason to panic but if they lose again this week it will be hard to argue they are not in chaos.