Promotion-chasing Oldham RL Club will welcome this weekend’s break before hitting the final lap of the neck-and-neck race for Betfred League 1 honours.
With one exception, all Super League, Championship and League 1 clubs have a free weekend while the sport’s spotlight lands exclusively on Wembley’s double-header, featuring St Helens v Warrington Wolves in the Coral Challenge Cup final and then Sheffield Eagles v Widnes Vikings in the inaugural final of the new AB Sundecks 1895 Cup, both televised on Saturday.
The only other game is Friday night’s League 1 clash between London Skolars and Hunslet, which will be streamed on the Our League app from 7pm.
London’s challenge for a play-off spot has faded away in recent weeks, but Hunslet need every point they can get to finish as high as they can and to set up what promises to be a a crucial clash with Roughyeds at the South Leeds Stadium on September 8.
Oldham, meanwhile, will use this weekend for rest, rehab and relaxation before they bring down the curtain on their regular league campaign with trips to Coventry Bears on September 1 and to Hunslet on September 8.
“We’ve got a few bumps and bruises so the break will give us the opportunity to rest and freshen up in readiness for the final run-in,”
said head coach Scott Naylor.
Centre Zack McComb hurt an arm in the later stages of the Doncaster game and although he finished the match after quick treatment on the field it remains to be seen whether he will be right for the Coventry game.
If Oldham can extend their winning sequence from four to six they will be guaranteed a second-place finish with all the huge advantages that would give them in the play-offs.
To start with, they would get another break on the weekend of Sunday, September 15 while the teams finish third and fourth and fifth and sixth go hammer and tongs at each other.
On September 22 they would be at home and a win would carry them straight through to the final which would be played at the Vestacare Stadium.
Designed in Australia and re-adopted here for Super League, Championship and League 1 this season, the five-club play-off structure might seem complicated and difficult to fathom at first glance, but it is designed to finish up with the top two teams in the final if results go according to the form book and to final league placings.
It can’t be faulted for that.