Rugby League


23 Feb 2023

Betfred Championship Preview | Round Four

Betfred Championship Preview | Round Four

Round Four of the Betfred Championship takes place this weekend. Here is a look at all seven matches.


Bradford Bulls v Toulouse

Bradford Bulls will be looking to keep their perfect home record intact when Toulouse make the trip to Odsal on Saturday.

Mark Dunning’s side struck late against Widnes last weekend to level the score with 90 seconds remaining. Half-back, Dec Patton kept a cool head to convert the winning goal.

The Bulls currently sit sixth in the table with two wins from three matches, however, they are level on points with third place Sheffield.

Bradford will be looking for their first home victory over Toulouse since the 29-22 success in 2017.

Toulouse are one of the two remaining sides who have won all three of their Betfred Championship matches.

The French side have impressed in all three matches and a key theme of their play has been their strong defence. Toulouse have conceded just four points this season.

Guy Armitage has posed a threat out wide for Toulouse. The winger has crossed for six tries this campaign and is the joint top scorer in the division.

Toulouse have won their last three visits to Odsal.



Batley Bulldogs v Keighley Cougars

Batley Bulldogs will welcome fellow Yorkshire side, Keighley Cougars to the Fox’s Biscuits Stadium on Sunday.

Both sides have a very similar record with one win and two defeats. Batley trail the Cougars by two points on points difference, which sees the Bulldogs sit 11th in the table.

Craig Lingard’s side started the season with an away win at London, but this has since been followed by defeats to Swinton and Sheffield.

Batley have won the previous six meetings between the two sides.

Keighley got off the mark at the third attempt of asking when they defeated Newcastle Thunder on Sunday at Cougar Park.

Keighley took a commanding 28-12 lead into the break, before adding three more second half tries during the 44-24 victory.


Featherstone Rovers v Newcastle Thunder

Featherstone will look to go four from four on Sunday as they welcome Newcastle Thunder to the Millennium Stadium.

Rovers have been ruthless in attack for new head coach, Sean Long. In their opening three matches, they have scored 172 points which included a 76-4 home success against Whitehaven last weekend.

Gareth Gale scored a hat-trick during the victory. Gale is the joint top scorer in the Betfred Championship with six tries this season.

In 16 previous meetings, Featherstone have never lost to Newcastle. During that time, they have won 15 of those clashes.

Newcastle will have a big ask on Sunday as they travel to the league leaders.

Thunder started the season with an away victory over newly promoted Swinton Lions. This has since been followed by defeats to Toulouse and Keighley Cougars.

The North East side scored four tries during their last match, but were unable to get a second victory of the season.

Alex Young poses a threat on the wing. He scored twice during their opening round fixture and could be on the scoresheet if he is given space.


London Broncos v Sheffield Eagles

Sheffield Eagles will make the trip to the capital on Sunday afternoon to face London Broncos at the Cherry Red Records Stadium.

Mike Eccles’ side suffered an opening day defeat to Batley Bulldogs, but bounced back in Round Two was an away win at Whitehaven. Paul Ulberg crossed twice, including finishing off a great team move by the Broncos.

In the last fixture, Halifax took a 20-6 lead with just under half an hour remaining. Dean Parata and Bill Leyland scored late on, but it proved to be too late as the Panthers held on to a 24-18 win.

Last season, London came from 28-0 down at half-time to beat Sheffield 36-28 in Round 17.

London have won the previous four home meetings between the two sides and will be looking to extend their record.

Winger, Iliess Macani could make his 100th London Broncos appearance on Sunday. Macani made his debut against St Helens in 2013 during his first stint with the squad.

Mark Aston’s Sheffield Eagles will be looking for a third consecutive victory this season.

Sheffied fought back during their opening game but suffered an away defeat at The Shay against Halifax Panthers.

Since then, the Eagles have between Barrow Raiders and Batley Bulldogs. Those victories have seen them rise up to third in the Betfred Championship table.

Sheffield got their revenge for the away defeat last season when the two sides met at the Summer Bash. The Eagles controlled much of the contest during their 38-12 win.


Whitehaven v Swinton Lions

After three defeats, Whitehaven will be looking to get off the mark when Swinton Lions make the trip to Cumbria on Sunday.

Whitehaven have had two tough away trips this season as they have travelled to Bradford and Featherstone. These matches have come either side of the home meeting with London Broncos. The match was a close contest, but London returned to the capital with the two points after the 20-16 match, in which Jacob Douglas scored two impressive tries.

Swinton have impressed in 2023, with the Lions sitting fifth in the Betfred Championship table.

Allan Coleman’s side lost their opening match to Newcastle Thunder. The scores were level with 10 minutes to go, but two late tries snatched the victory away from Swinton.

The Lions bounced back with an away win at Batley and a late home winner against Barrow last weekend at Heywood Road.

Andy Badrock has proved to be a dangerous player for Swinton. The centre has scored in his last two appearances.


York Knights v Barrow Raiders

York Knights and Barrow Raiders will meet on Sunday afternoon in a match that will be shown live on Our League.

Andrew Henderson won his second match as head coach when York defeated Bradford 32-16 live on Viaplay Sports.

Despite falling behind twice, the Knights came back and controlled the match at the LNER Community Stadium.

The Knights travelled to France in their last fixture to face Toulouse. York came out with a lot of credit due to the injury issues to the halves. 

York will be looking for revenge after they lost 24-16 at home last season to Barrow in Round 17 of the Betfred Championship.

Barrow are just one of two sides which are yet to win a match, but their away win at York last season will give them hope.

The Raiders kicked off the season as they faced Toulouse live on Our League. Ryan Shaw scored the only Barrow try during the 24-4 defeat.

A home defeat to Sheffield has since been followed by a late loss to Swinton at Heywood Road last weekend.

Greg Worthington was on the scoresheet last week for Barrow. The try was his 100th in his career.



Widnes Vikings v Halifax Panthers

The final match of Round Four sees Widnes Vikings and Halifax Panthers meet on Monday evening live on Viaplay Sports.

Widnes will be looking to get back to winning ways after a late defeat to Bradford last weekend. The Vikings conceded inside the final 90 second, as Bradford came out on top 14-12.

Previously, Widnes had started the season with an away win at York and a home success against Keighley Cougars.

Matty Fozard could make his 200th career appearance on Monday. The hooker has made 30 appearances since joining the club last season.

Widnes beat Halifax 25-6 when the sides met in 2021 during Round 18 of the Betfred Championship.

Halifax also come into the fixture with two wins from their opening three matches.

The Panthers beat Sheffield Eagles and London Broncos this season at The Shay.

Their one defeat did come away from home against top of the table, Featherstone Rovers.

Lachlan Walmsley has scored in all three matches in 2023. The winger has four tries this season, the same amount as Widnes’ Ryan Millar.

Halifax beat Widnes on their last trip. Six different scorers touched down for Halifax during the 32-4 win. The one Widnes try was scored by Eribe Doro, who could feature for Halifax on Monday. Doro scored against London last weekend for the Panthers.


Round Four Fixtures:


  • Bradford Bulls v Toulouse – 1PM
  • Batley Bulldogs v Keighley Cougars – 3PM
  • Featherstone Rovers v Newcastle Thunder – 3PM
  • London Broncos v Sheffield Eagles – 3PM
  • Whitehaven v Swinton Lions – 3PM
  • York Knights v Barrow Raiders – 3PM – Live on Our League





  • Widnes Vikings v Halifax Panthers – 7:45PM – Live on Viaplay Sports