Rugby League


31 Aug 2023

Betfred Championship Preview | Round 24

Betfred Championship Preview | Round 24

Just four rounds remain in the Betfred Championship. Here is a closer look at all the games taking place in Round 24 this weekend.

Newcastle Thunder face Toulouse in a must win contest for both sides          .

Thunder are five points away from safety, with just eight points to play for.

Chris Thorman’s side have lost their past three matches, with their last win being a 25-19 home win against Swinton Lions.

Newcastle have won four matches this season and one draw from 23 matches.

Toulouse need a victory to keep their hopes of finishing top alive.

Olympique are eight points behind Featherstone, so any dropped points would result in the West Yorkshire side being crowned as League Leaders Shield winners.

Toulouse beat Newcastle 58-0 when the sides met in Round Two. Anthony Marion scored twice during that fixture; Marion has scored four tries in his last three meetings with Newcastle.

On Sunday, Featherstone could make sure of their top spot. Rovers know a point would seal it when they travel to Odsal.

Bradford have impressed recently with four wins from their last five matches which sees them rise up to third place.

The Bulls have not beaten Featherstone since 2019, this was in the Challenge Cup, just two months after they had beaten Featherstone in the opening round of the 2019 Championship.

James Ford will be hoping to get the job completed. Ford took over from Sean Long and has not lost a game yet.

Rovers have lost just two league matches all season and have scored 916 points in 23 matches.

At the other end of the table, Keighley Cougars face Barrow Raiders at Cougar Park.

Keighley are 12th in the table, meanwhile, Barrow sit just one place above.

The Cougars are currently avoiding the drop on points difference, they are just ahead of by two points with Swinton on -302 and Keighley on -300.

Matt Foster’s side were defeated by Featherstone last weekend; however, this did follow an impressive home success against Batley Bulldogs. The victory was their first since Round 16 against Whitehaven.

Despite missing many players, Paul Crarey’s Barrow side gave a good account of themselves in France last weekend.

The Raiders have produced two massive away wins recently at Bradford Bulls and Cumrbian rivals, Whitehaven.

The previous meeting this season was a closely fought contest. With Barrow edging the match 18-16 in Round 14.

Mark Aston’s Sheffield Eagles side bounced back with a huge victory last Friday. The Eagles comprehensively defeated Batley 49-6 at the Fox’s Biscuit Stadium.

Sheffield have already defeated Sunday’s opponents, London Broncos, this season as they left the capital with a one-point victory in Round Four.

The Eagles are fourth in the table and look like they are on their way to securing a home play-off match in the opening week.

Mike Eccles’ side have been in red hot form, with eight wins from their last nine matches.

The good run has seen London surge from outside the play-offs into fifth position.

The Broncos currently sit two points ahead of seventh placed Widnes Vikings. A victory would go a long way to finishing in the top six.

Whitehaven will welcome Halifax Panthers up to Cumbria on Sunday afternoon.

Haven are 10th in the table and are two points above the drop zone.

This season, they have made the LEL Arena a tough place to go, with wins against sides above them in the table.

Halifax were narrowly defeated at home to Widnes last weekend and will need to turn a corner to try and reach the play-offs.

When the sides met earlier in the season, Halifax ran riot in the 60-0 victory. The Championship’s top scorer, Lachlan Walmsley, scored four tries during the success. The former Whitehaven man has scored 31 tries this season in the league.

The Panthers are three points away from the play-offs, so a win would be key to keeping their hopes alive.

Ben Kavanagh is just one appearance away from 100 for Halifax. The prop scored on his debut during a defeat to Widnes in February 2019.

Widnes Vikings have won five of their last six matches, which has taken them up to seventh and very much in the hunt for a place in the top six.

The Vikings will be hoping to end a two game losing run at home to Batley, Widnes’ last victory was a 32-12 win in Round Two of the 2020 season.

Batley have struggled as of late but do still sit in the play-offs.

Craig Lingard’s side defeated Halifax 42-0 in Round 18, however, they have failed to win a game since then.

Earlier in the season, Batley did defeat Widnes 11-4 in Round 10 and a win would be crucial for their play-off hopes.

Dale Morton could make his 300th appearance. Since joining in 2020, Morton has made 68 appearances for the Bulldogs.

The final game of the weekend sees a York Knights side who are chasing the play-offs against a Swinton Lions team who are fighting to stay in the league.

Andrew Henderson’s side defeated Newcastle last weekend which helped to push them towards the play-offs.

York are currently ninth and are four points away from the play-offs with just four games remaining.

The Knights have won six of their last seven matches, which has put them into the position.

York have won their last eight home meetings with Swinton.

Swinton currently occupy the final relegation place and know a win at this stage of the season would be vital.

Allan Coleman’s side have found wins tough to come by after their promotion from League One.

The Lions have showed resilience in recent weeks and will make it difficult when they travel to North Yorkshire.


  • Newcastle Thunder v Toulouse - 3PM


  • Bradford Bulls v Featherstone Rovers - 3PM
  • Keighley Cougars v Barrow Raiders - 3PM
  • Sheffield Eagles v London Broncos - 3PM
  • Whitehaven v Halifax Panthers - 3PM
  • Widnes Vikings v Batley Bulldogs - 3PM
  • York Knights v Swinton Lions - 3PM