Hull KR and Cas scrap for last play-off place

 

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The Independent Online

It is a weekend of farewells in Super League, starting with the losers of what is effectively a sudden-death encounter between Hull KR and Castleford this evening.

The winners will take the last of the play-off places. The losing coach – Rovers' Justin Morgan or Terry Matterson of Cas – will have directed his team for the last time.

It is the Robins who go into the game with all the momentum, having won eight of their last nine matches, and they also have their player of the year, Blake Green, back after suspension.

The Tigers briefly led the competition back in March, but have been in a downward spiral for the last couple of months, particularly so since their demoralising Challenge Cup semi-final defeat by Leeds.

"It would be a shame, after what we've done for a large part of the season, if we didn't make it," said Matterson, who will be without Ryan McGoldrick, suspended for two weeks, and calls up three members of the Under-20s side – Darryl Clark, Jordan Thompson and John Davies.

Rovers have a host of players departing after this season, including stalwarts such as Michael Vella, Clint Newton, Ben Fisher and Shaun Briscoe, all of whom will be keen to bow out in style.

There is less at stake at The Stoop, where Harlequins come to the end of a disappointing season and St Helens are already assured of third place. Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook returns for the first time to the club where he learnt his rugby league and Jon Wilkin also returns to Saints' line-up after suspension.

Tomorrow afternoon, Salford play their final game at The Willows after 110 years in residence. The Catalan Dragons are appropriate last visitors, given Salford's pioneering work in France in the 1930s. The last season at the ground has been anticlimatic, but the City Reds will be hoping to ride an emotional tide and at least leave in the right way.

Huddersfield and Leeds meet in the weekend's other game, with both clubs already securely lodged in the play-off places.

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