Championship permutations as play-off and relegation battles go down to wire
Two play-off spots are up for grabs and four clubs are battling to stay afloat at the bottom of the table.
Here, The Yorkshire Post takes a look at the final round fixtures and what is at stake for every club.
Saturday, September 23
Batley Bulldogs v Newcastle Thunder, 3pm
After suffering late drop-goal heartbreak against York Knights, Batley need a couple of favours to steal sixth spot. They need to beat Newcastle and hope both York – ahead on points difference – and Halifax Panthers – one point better off – slip up. If Halifax lose and York and Batley both win, the Bulldogs must overturn a 14-point difference on for and against.
Basement side Newcastle are preparing for a return to League 1 after their relegation was confirmed earlier this month.
Whitehaven v Toulouse Olympique, 3pm
Remarkably, three clubs are separated by only five points on for and against at the bottom heading into the final round. Whitehaven hold a slender advantage over Keighley Cougars and Swinton Lions but know a heavy defeat could see them drop back into League 1.
Toulouse have already secured second place and a home semi-final, which will be played over the weekend of October 7-8.
Featherstone Rovers v Widnes Vikings, 6pm
Featherstone clinched the League Leaders' Shield at the start of this month and head into the final round with a huge 12-point advantage after landing a psychological blow on Toulouse last week. Like their promotion rivals, Featherstone can look forward to a home semi-final early next month.
The Vikings are out of the play-off race after losing at home to Sheffield Eagles last weekend.
Sunday, September 24
Barrow Raiders v York Knights, 3pm
Barrow hold a precious one-point advantage over their relegation rivals, meaning they can only go down if they lose and Whitehaven, Keighley and Swinton all win.
The Knights have surged into play-off contention thanks to a remarkable run of nine wins in 10 games but may have left themselves with too much to do. They must beat Barrow and hope Swinton do them a favour by winning at Halifax, although London Broncos are just about still in range as well.
Halifax Panthers v Swinton Lions, 3pm
The Panthers know a victory would guarantee a play-off spot and they could even steal fourth spot if Bradford Bulls and London both lose.
Swinton start the weekend second bottom after scoring fewer points than Keighley in the first 26 rounds but will know the margin of defeat they can afford following Whitehaven's game on Saturday.
London Broncos v Keighley Cougars, 3pm
London suffered their first defeat in six games last time out but only have to avoid a heavy defeat to secure a play-off spot, unless York win by 50 points at Barrow and Halifax are also victorious. A win coupled with a defeat for Bradford would see the Broncos finish fourth and claim home advantage in the eliminators.
The Cougars will be keeping a close eye on events at Halifax, with limiting the damage of any defeat the aim of the game for the three clubs locked on 16 points.
Sheffield Eagles v Bradford Bulls, 6.30pm
The Eagles are guaranteed a home play-off eliminator – which will be played on October 1 – thanks to their vastly superior points difference but must win to secure third spot.
With only a point separating Bradford from their hosts, the Bulls – who secured their play-off spot in the previous round – could finish third or as low as sixth should they lose and London and Halifax both win.