IT’S that time again when attentions turn to the Super League play-offs and the fans discuss how on earth they work, and who could play who further down the track.
This season’s end-of-season shake-up got under way last night with the Wigan v Catalan clash at the DW Stadium and will end with the Grand Final at Old Trafford on Saturday, October 6.
Between now and then, there will be twists and turns aplenty, and the Giants would love to be at the very heart of them all!
But how could Huddersfield get to Old Trafford and who could they face along the way?
There’s obviously plenty of different scenarios given the complexity of the current Super League play-off format.
First and foremost, the Giants have to win at Hull FC tomorrow, of course, when the sides that finished sixth and seventh at the end of the regular season do battle at the KC Stadium.
Coach Paul Anderson’s men have to travel because of their finishing position (seventh) and that means they face the prospect of away trips all the way to a potential first Grand Final appearance at the Theatre of Dreams.
Being away from home is the only certainty for the Giants, but who could the Giants visit if they win this weekend?
Well, there are a number of options.
If Wigan (one) beat Catalan (four), Warrington (two) beat St Helens (three) and Leeds (five) beat Wakefield (eight), it’s St Helens v Huddersfield.
If Wigan win, Saints win and Leeds win, it’s Warrington v Huddersfield.
If Wigan lose, Warrington lose and Leeds win, it’s Wigan v Huddersfield.
If Wigan lose, Warrington win and Leeds win, it’s again Warrington v Huddersfield.
But everything changes again if Wakefield go to Leeds tonight and win.
That would then mean the following:
If Wigan and Warrington win, it’s Catalan v Huddersfield.
If Wigan win and Warrington lose, it’s still Catalan v Huddersfield.
If Wigan lose and Warrington win, it’s St Helens v Huddersfield.
If Wigan lose and Warrington lose, it’s Warrington v Huddersfield.
It’s as simple as that!
WEEK ONE (this weekend)
Qualifying play-offs: 1 v 4 and 2 v 3. The winners of these two games progress directly to week three and the highest-ranked winning club will have Club Call, whereby they choose who they play in week three. The losers of these two matches will have another chance in week two when they will be at home to the winners of the week one elimination play-offs.
Elimination play-offs: 5 v 8 and 6 v 7. The winners of these matches will progress to week two, the losers are eliminated.
WEEK TWO (September 21, 22, 23)
Preliminary semi-final I: The highest-ranked Qualifying play-off losing team (1, 2, 3 or 4) v the lowest-ranked Elimination play-off winning team (5, 6, 7 or 8). The winner to Club Call, the loser eliminated.
Preliminary semi-final II: The lowest-ranked Qualifying play-off losing team (1, 2, 3 or 4) v the highest-ranked Elimination play-off winning team (5, 6, 7 or 8). The winner to Club Call, the loser eliminated.
Club Call will take place on Sunday, September 23 and be hosted by the highest-ranked winning club from week one. The host club will select who they play in week three and can only select from the winners of the two Preliminary semi-finals (week 2) – they can’t choose the other Qualifying play-off winner – and they can’t decline the offer of use their Club Call. The team with Club Call and the other Qualifying play-off winner from week one are guaranteed home advantage in week three. For example, should the teams that finished the regular season 1 and 2 lose their opening play-off match, they could still find themselves playing away to the third or fourth placed teams in week three.
WEEK THREE (September 28, 29, 30)
Qualifying semi-final I: The highest-ranked Qualifying play-off side v Club Call selected club.
Qualifying semi-final II: The second-ranked Qualifying play-off side v club not selected for Club Call.
WEEK FOUR (Saturday, October 6)
Stobart Super League Grand Final at Old Trafford (6.00)