It's an odd round for Super League, this. With the England squad away for a test against Samoa, sides are having to play without some of their most key players available to them. Having seen Castleford struggle against lowly Huddersfield with their internationals elsewhere, there's chances available for those who haven't lost their top talent to spring a surprise on those who have.
The powers that be will be keen for both Super League and England to perform well and flood the press with positive stories after the Justin Carney verdict midweek, with many unsure of how a player who pleaded guilty to a charge of using racially inflammatory language walked away with an eight game ban and character reference from the RFL claiming he definitely wasn't a racist. A sport not known in this country for being particularly engaged with its minority audience, it's a story and situation those in charge of the game should keep on top of, and ensure the sport isn't yet again cast in the wrong light thanks to the actions of the few, rather than the many.
Wigan Warriors vs Salford Red Devils
Friday 5th May, 20:00
Wigan were already running low on first team talent before their England internationals were called away for a week, so the Warriors really will be at their bare bones for this one. A chance to blood yet more talent from their ever impressive academy system, while the future of Wigan is in secure hands, there is some concern over the present going in to this round, with their form having hit a fairly significant bump in the road.
Salford, meanwhile, are unaffected by the internationals, so will be at full force heading in to this one. In good form and keeping well up with those looking to crack the top four, their is some hope that they could sneak in to the Grandfinal if their play stays at the same sort of level. Fantastic to watch going forwards, their defence isn't too bad either, so there won't be many easy games for those lining up against them this year.
With the players missing, form and general mood surrounding both clubs taken in to account, the momentum appears to be with Salford for once. Despite the drama surrounding their winger Justin Carney, they should be focussed enough to see this game out, and claim another big scalp for the season.
Salford Red Devils to beat Wigan Warriors by +13pts @ 11/4
Warrington Wolves vs St Helens
Friday 5th May, 20:00
Live on SkySports
Both sides have had to say goodbye to their international players this week, which might open this game up a little. Saints have been relying on their youth side for a few weeks now, much as Wigan have, and they've got some similarly exciting prospects coming through. Having named a new head coach, too, there will be hope that the introduction of Justin Holbrook is enough to turn their season around.
Warrington, meanwhile, are no strangers to turnarounds, and have gone about digging themselves out of their early season misery fantastically. With their own troop of England talent missing, they'll be dipping in to their reserve grade to fill in the gaps, but that has served them well enough in the past. Even with the new coach at Saints, it's still Wire who have the momentum advantage, and that can be everything when it comes to close run matches.
Justin Holbrook won't have been at Saints long enough to change much, so it's fair to assume it'll be much of the same from the away side. Warrington have got one leg back on the horse, and they'll know keeping Saints down will only help their bid to get back in a position where they can attack the top four from. This might not be the prettiest game of rugby you'll ever watch, but expect when it gets down to the crunch, for Wire to stick it out.
Warrington Wolves to beat St Helens by 1-12pts @ 11/5
Leigh Centurions vs Wakefield Trinity
Saturday 6th May, 18:00
While they've had a great season to date, Wakefield will've been rocked by the news that star winger Tom Johnston sustained a season-ending knee injury last time out, which will severely dent their attacking threat for the remainder of the campaign. They'll have to reshuffle the backline and refocus their attack, which had been purring with Johnstone in the side. Still, with the likes of Ben Jones-Bishop to call on, they might not be too badly hurt, after all.
Leigh, meanwhile, really need to find their feet all over again. Shocking since entering this form, a loss to Hull KR in the cup showed just how far off the pace they've allowed themselves to become, which won't fill them with confidence of surviving the middle 8s split and a possible scrape with an immediate relegation.
However, with Trinity hurting and Leigh desperate, this could be an afternoon where the underdog finally gets back up and running. Priced largely to win at home thanks to their poor form, it's an intriguing prospect, and if Leigh are going to wake up and recapture some of that early season vim and vigour, it'll be at home.
Leigh Centurions to beat Wakefield Trinity @ 7/5