Rugby League


24 Aug 2023

The Race for the Betfred Championship Play-Offs

The Race for the Betfred Championship Play-Offs

Just five rounds remain in the Betfred Championship, and it is all to play for. With competition up and down the table, here is a closer look at the race for the play-offs.

Featherstone Rovers have already secured their place, with Toulouse behind them looking near impossible for them to miss out on the top six.

However, between third and ninth, the sides are closely compact with all in with a shot at reaching the play-offs.


Bradford Bulls – 3rd place – 27 points

The Bulls made a mid-season change with Mark Dunning departing and Lee Greenwood taking over, but that has seemed to kick the Bulls on. Since the coaching change, Bradford have played 12 league matches with eight wins and a draw during that period.

Kieran Gill has been on the end of some strong Bradford play this season. Gill has 17 Betfred Championship tries this season.

Bradford are in a strong position as they are four points ahead of 7th place, however, they do face sides in and around the play-off places.

Remaining Fixtures: Swinton Lions (A), Featherstone Rovers (H), York Knights (H), London Broncos (A), Sheffield Eagles (A)


Sheffield Eagles – 4th place – 26 points

Sheffield Eagles impressed early in the season with some huge performances and scalps, including a home victory 32-4 against Toulouse in Round Seven.

Mark Aston’s side looked like they would achieve the play-offs comfortably, but a blip has seen them come back towards the chasing pack.

The Eagles have just won two of their last six. Sheffield have made Olympic Legacy Park a tough place to visit and home advantage will be important for them to go strongly in the remainder of the season.

Remaining Fixtures: Batley Bulldogs (A), London Broncos (H), Keighley Cougars (H), Widnes Vikings (A), Bradford Bulls (H)


Batley Bulldogs – 5th place – 26 points

Craig Lingard’s side reached the Championship Grand Final last season, and the Bulldogs will be hoping to go one better this season.

The Bulldogs reached the 1895 Cup Final this season before losing to Halifax 12-10.

Batley have had a tough run of results with four consecutive defeats which has seen them slip down to fifth in the table.

Before losing to London in Round 16, Batley had won seven games in a row which saw them move up towards third spot.

The Bulldogs had to travel to Barrow and Featherstone in 2022 to reach the Championship Grand Final.

Remaining Fixtures: Sheffield Eagles (H), Widnes Vikings (A), Whitehaven (H), York Knights (A), Newcastle Thunder (H)


London Broncos – 6th place – 24 points

London Broncos are currently the final side to occupy a play-off spot. 

Mike Eccles side have improved their form at the right time of the season with six wins in their last seven matches, crucially some of these wins have come against sides who are fighting to make the top six.

Since the start of the season, London have strengthened their depth with very experienced former NRL duo, Dean Whare and Corey Norman.

Despite sitting sixth, London are in a strong position to reach the knockout stages. Out of their final five matches, the capital club have four matches held at their Cherry Red Record Stadium. Just a trip to Sheffield a week on Sunday is their only remaining regular season away contest.

Remaining Fixtures:  Whitehaven (H), Sheffield Eagles (A), Widnes Vikings (H), Bradford Bulls (H)


Halifax Panthers – 7th place – 23 points

The Panthers will be looking to continue their successful season as they bid for a play-off spot. Simon Grix’s side lifted the AB Sundecks 1895 Cup at Wembley after defeating Batley 12-10. Captain Brandon Moore powered over for their only try, with Louis Joufret adding the remaining points from penalties.

Lachlan Walmsley has attracted attention all year. The Scottish international has scored a huge 33 tries in all competitions with 31 of those coming in the Championship.

Prior to winning the cup, Halifax beat league leaders, Featherstone, however in the league they have since followed it with a defeat to London which saw them slip out the play-offs.

Remaining Fixtures: Widnes Vikings (H), Whitehaven (A), Toulouse (H), Keighley Cougars (A), Swinton Lions (H)


Widnes Vikings – 8th place – 22 points

After 22 matches, Widnes Vikings have an identical record of wins and defeats. With 11 wins and 11 defeats it gives them 22 points which puts them in eighth just two points behind London.

A home defeat to fellow play-off chasers, York Knights, ended a run of four consecutive wins which has kept the dream alive for reaching the final stages.

Widnes will face five sides who all currently sit above them in the table during their remaining fixtures.

Remaining Fixtures: Halifax Panthers (A), Batley Bulldogs (H), London Broncos (A), Sheffield Eagles (H), Featherstone Rovers (A)


York Knights – 9th place – 20 points

York have emerged as a late contender for the play-offs. A good run of form and victories over sides who are fighting for play-off places has seen them make up some ground.

Five wins in their last six, including four wins against sides above them has seen them fly towards that top six.

Crucially York face three sides who are not fighting for those play-off spots. If they are able to continue their form they could snatch a spot.


Remaining Fixtures: Newcastle Thunder (A), Swinton Lions (H), Bradford Bulls (A), Batley Bulldogs (H), Barrow Raiders (A)