Adamson returns as Rhinos push to stay on fast-track

Rugby League: Warrington's last league game at Wilderspool inspires mixed emotions amid hopes of play-off place to set seal on revival
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This is the weekend when the line-up for the Super League play-offs will finally be resolved, with Hull and Leeds both needing a result from this evening's meeting at the KC Stadium.

Hull, in the top six all season, could drop out when it matters, whilst Leeds, the league leaders for so long, could drop to their lowest position of the year.

Much is at stake and both sides expect to be close to full-strength, with Matt Adamson making an important return for the Rhinos.

If Leeds fail to win, they could be knocked out of the top two for the first time this season and deprived of the possible fast-track route to the Grand Final by Wigan, who are at Castleford tomorrow.

Wigan are still unbeaten under Mike Gregory, but at Cas he will be without the injured Terry Newton and Quentin Pongia, with Adrian Lam fit enough to return via the substitutes' bench.

There will be a minute's silence in memory of the former Wigan prop, Adrian Shelford, who died yesterday of a suspected heart attack aged 39.

Seven Castleford players, including Danny Orr, Mitch Healey, Michael Eagar and Dale Fritz, will be making their final appearances for the club. Another, Mark Lennon, could play for the first time since breaking his leg, but Paul Mellor is out with the after-effects of concussion.

Defeat for Hull will mean that London will already be sure by tomorrow of a play-off place for the first time. Otherwise, they will need to beat Huddersfield at home, with their scrum-half, Dennis Moran, trying to improve on the 23 tries that have made him the Super League's leading scorer.

Warrington, in their final league game at Wilderspool, could need to run up a big score against Wakefield, who have given extended contracts to their forwards, Darrell Griffin and Steve Snitch, to guarantee themselves a place in the play-offs. They will be without the suspended Mark Hilton in their front row, but have Richard Varkulis, a prolific try-scorer in the Academy team, in the squad for the first time.

There is just as much activity in the lower divisions, where the play-offs have already started. In National League One, Leigh go to Salford, hoping that the long-range influence of Alex Murphy, who is still on holiday in France, can help them beat their promotion rivals for the first time this season.

The winners go straight to the Grand Final while the losers will meet the winners of tomorrow's match between Rochdale and the in-form Hull KR next week.

The top two also meet in National League Two, and victory for Sheffield Eagles over Chorley will mean that Dale Laughton and their player-coach, Mark Aston, will have played their last game at the Don Valley Stadium before retiring at the end of the season.

The Chorley wing Eric Andrews has scored tries in 15 consecutive games, only two short of the record set by Leeds' Eric Harris in the 1935-36 season. The sudden-death semi-final is between Keighley and Barrow.

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