The Yorkshire Post Power Rankings makes unpleasant reading for the region’s rugby league fans; none of the leading five sides hail from the Broad Acres, something that tallies with the actual Super League table, too.
Warrington Wolves remain the team to beat and they are gaining some real momentum, but it is doom and gloom for most of Yorkshire’s sides, including winless Hull KR who are hit with more injury problems, coachless Wakefield Trinity and stumbling champions Leeds Rhinos.
You can conceivably see the likes of Warrington, Wigan, Saints and Salford all augmenting their high-ranking places this weekend, too, so things could get worse.
1. Warrington Wolves (=)
Remain top of The YP Power Rankings having overcome a sizeable hurdle by winning in Perpignan. Tony Smith’s side are now five from five and although the loss of NRL capture Mitchell Dodds - the former Brisbane Broncos prop - to a double leg fracture is a sizeable blow, expect them to roll with it.
Joint-top of Super League, they host Castleford Tigers on Friday and will be confident of strengthening that position.
2. Widnes Vikings (=)
Another week and yet another win for Denis Betts’s side who show no signs of slowing up at the summit of Super League.
Rode Hull FC’s early storm and then utterly eviscerated them 46-6. Unbeaten Wigan away on Thursday will be a different matter. Prosper there and Widnes can be regarded as the real deal.
3. St Helens (=)
Three wins on the bounce for Saints although, admittedly, there was little in terms of opposition when crisis-torn Wakefield Trinity ventured there last week. They are at Leeds Rhinos on Friday which, given the champions’ current ordeals, is not the challenge it once was. Saints will target that to maintain their own revival working into the hectic Easter period although, sadly, winger Adam Swift looks set for a long absence with the leg injury suffered versus Wildcats.
4. Wigan Warriors (+1)
Had to work hard initially to overcome Leeds’ energy but their class told in the end as Shaun Wane’s side - with Warrington the only team still boasting a 100 per cent league start - powered home. Nothing flashy about them but it is working and the panic from some quarters that they may struggle until Sam Tomkins’ return from injury in May has proved unwarranted. Should be a cracking game against their old rivals Widnes on Thursday.
5. Salford Red Devils (+3)
After two unlucky narrow defeats, finally got some reward with an impressive 32-16 win at Castleford Tigers. Justin Carney, inevitably, was in the headlines on his return to his parent club but certainly showed his match-winning quality with two tries. On the road again at bottom-placed Hull KR, Salford will sense they have a clear chance to build further although the loss of stand-off Robert Lui to a knee injury could hinder them.
6. Castleford Tigers (-2)
Salford at home are the sort of games Castleford need to win to fulfil their top four ambitions. A disappointing loss, then, and exacerbated with further injuries, full-back Luke Dorn the latest to hobble off for Daryl Powell’s side. Trekking to unbeaten Warrington Wolves won’t be easy and, with numbers down, the coach will be hoping Benny Roberts can make a swift recovery from injury to help them out.
7. Catalans Dragons (-1)
Loads of big names but still not enough substance, even Catalans’ renowned home form is on the wane after Warrington Wolves joined Hull FC in winning at Stade Gilbert Brutus in the opening weeks. Considering they are now almost back to full strength, the returns are poor from the Frenchman who will not have it easy either at Huddersfield Giants this Sunday, in what is a crucial game for both sides.
8. Huddersfield Giants (+2)
At last, a win for Paul Anderson’s side. It was always likely they would turn a corner when men got back fit again and Eorl Crabtree, Kyle Wood and Joe Wardle certainly gave them a real lift as they thrashed Hull KR 38-6. On-loan Jordan Tansey made an impressive debut, too, and the Fartowners will be desperate to now start accumulating victories. It is imperative they do not immediately slip up at home to Catalans Dragons this weekend.
9. Hull FC (-1)
A dreadful defeat at Widnes, the sort of wretched performance that Hull have delivered too often in recent years, sends them further down The Yorkshire Post Power Rankings. How will the players react after all the shenanigans at Vikings? They won’t have a better fixture than Wakefield at home to halt the slide. If they conspire to mess that up then...
10. Leeds Rhinos (-1)
Drop one place in the Power Rankings after a miserable loss at Wigan, their fifth of the year already. Amazing to think it was not so long ago they were defeating the Warriors in a Grand Final. Leeds were so nearly kept pointless for the first time since 1998 until Zak Hardaker scored in the dying seconds. Hard to imagine St Helens will not inflict another wound at Headingley on Friday.
11. Wakefield Trinity Wildcats (+1)
Move up a place in the Power Rankings despite heavy loss at St Helens but it is hard to see them ascending the Super League table any time soon. Chairman Michael Carter is interviewing five candidates for the newly-vacant head coach role this week and the sooner they make an appointment the better as something needs to be done fast to prevent Wildcats’ campaign descending into chaos. At least they should get captain Danny Kirmond back for Friday’s trip to Hull FC - although they may also lose another two players, Jason Walton and Tinirau Arona, to suspensions.
12. Hull KR (-1)
What a weekend for Rovers. They finally get captain Terry Campese back for the first time since June, he comes off the bench and looks the part directing them around at Huddersfield, only to then suffer a fresh hamstring injury. James Webster also lost ex-England hooker Shaun Lunt (calf) and Ben Cockayne may yet face a suspension. The only side still yet to pick up a win, new interim head coach Webster will hope for the Craven Park effect to play its part in his first home game when Salford head there Sunday.