After a mixed first three rounds for the eight sides in Super 8s- The Qualifiers, the four Super League sides occupied the top four spots in the table but with three playing away in round four, the Championship sides eyed the chance to stage a shock.
The round opened at The Shay on Saturday as Halifax hosted Salford Red Devils with 'Fax eyeing a first win of the 8s while Salford looked to bounce back from their humbling at Bradford.
A superb start for Salford saw Niall Evalds seal a two minute brace in the ninth and 11th minutes with Josh Griffin's conversions opening up a 12-0 lead. Halifax replied just six minutes later as Dane Manning touched down with Steve Tyrer improving the score for 12-6. Greg Johnson raced over on 34 minutes for Salford with Griffin kicking for 18-6 before Ben Jones-Bishop pushed the lead to 22-6 just before the interval.
Scott Murrell reduced the gap for the hosts within six minutes of the restart with Tyrer converting for 22-12 ahead of a hat-trick try from Evalds which Griffin improved for 28-12. Despite losing all three 8s games, Halifax have showed promise and continued that effect with three tries in two minutes from James Saltonstall and Jacob Fairbank with a single conversion from Tyrer narrowing the game at 28-22.
However, Salford raced clear at 50-22 as Jones Bishop and Johnson claimed their second and third tries in succession with Michael Dobson converting Jones-Bishop's double and Griffin only able to improve one of Johnson's. Despite a crushing defeat, Halifax completed the scoring as Adam Tangata crossed on 75 minutes and Tyrer converted for a 50-28 final score that continued their good scoring form in the competition.
Sunday's all Super League meeting saw Challenge Cup runners-up Hull Kingston Rovers return to league duties by hosting Wakefield Wildcats as the KC Lightstream Stadium. The Robins looked to bounce back from Wembley horror show while the Wildcats harboured hopes of edging towards survival.
The Wildcats started the better of the two sides as they opened up a 12-0 lead inside 22 minutes with a brace from Kevin Locke coming either side of a try from Lee Smith who was unable to convert any of the trio. The Robins responded with two scores in six minutes as Josh Mantelleto raced 80 metres to score before Kieran Dixon crossed with the latter converting just once for 12-10.
Dixon claimed his second try on 66 minutes to give the Robins their first lead at 14-12 before the win and a potentially vital two points were secured by a 71st minute try from Shaun Lunt which was improved by Josh Mantellato for a 20-12 final score.
The second cross-league meeting of the afternoon saw Bradford Bulls host Widnes Vikings at the Provident Stadium with the Bulls looking for back-to back SL scalps while the Vikings looked to bounce back from losing to Hull KR.
A tight first 15 minutes saw the sides remain level before a surprise opening try from Adrian Purtell saw Danny Addy convert for a 6-0 lead which was rapidly cancelled out as Joe Mellor scored a brace either side of a Patrick Ah Van try with Lloyd White adding a conversion to open up a 14-6 lead.
Omari Caro ensured Bradford would go into the interval with a score as he crossed in the final seconds and with Addy converting, the score was 14-12 at the break. However, Widnes raced into a 26-12 lead with tries from Charly Runciman and a third from Mellor within ten minutes of the restart with Danny Tickle converting just the latter before adding a penalty on 56 minutes.
Hep Cahill extended the lead just after the hour mark before a second try from Ah Van and scores from Rhys Hanbury and Kevin Brown saw Tickle convert all four to make it 50-12 with eight minute remaining. Bradford's miserable second half saw them leak another try in the final three minutes as Ah Van secured a hat-trick against his former side with Tickle confirming a 56-12 triumph.
The only all-Championship clash came from Leigh Sports Village as Leigh Centurions hosted Sheffield Eagles with the Centurions hoping to open their 8s account and the Eagles looking for a second victory in a row.
The hosts struck first as Mick Higham crossed for the opening try on 12 minutes which Martyn Ridyard converted for 6-0 but the Eagles were level on 24 minutes as James Davey crossed and Pat Walker converted for 6-6.
However, Leigh took control with three tries in five minutes as Andrew Dixon scored ahead of a Ryan Brierley brace with all three converted by Ridyard for 24-6.
Scott Turner cut the gap just before the interval to make it 24-10 into the half-time break but with Liam Kay setting up a 20 point lead at 30-10 just seven minutes after the restart,Sheffield's task was a big one. FuiFui MoiMoi extended the lead on 57 minutes with Ridyard's conversion making it 36-10 before Sam Smeaton (Walker conv) reduced the gap back to 20 at 36-16.
Brierley completed his hat-trick on 63 minutes ahead of efforts from Tommy Goulden and Greg McNally with Ridyard converting twice from three attempts to confirm a 52-16 triumph.