Super League: Cursed Leeds’ loss opens up Rugby League play-offs

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Leeds Rhinos may have won the Challenge Cup at Wembley for the first time since 1999 this year, having failed in six finals so far in this Millennium, but Brian McDermott’s bruisers won’t be bringing up the Super League double after going down 24-20 to Catalan Dragons in the play-offs.

McDermott’s men were looking to become the third club to achieve the Challenge Cup/Super League feat, after Wigan Warriors and St Helens, since the simpler form of egg-chasing received Sky’s backing in 1996.

The aforementioned north-west pair are now 11/10 and 9/4 respectively to run out Grand Final winners in next month’s Old Trafford showpiece, although Leeds’ French conquerors must also come into the reckoning at 18/1.

Rhinos emerged victorious in six finals over the last decade and only lost two fewer regular-season fixtures this term than last season’s double winners Wigan and St Helens, who finished the campaign first and second in the standings.

Catalan coach Laurent Frayssinous acclaimed his side’s first win at Leeds in their 14-year history, and they will be a force to reckon with against Huddersfield Giants in the first preliminary semi-final.

The Giants are 9/1 for a Grand Final win, behind Warrington Wolves at 5s, after being drubbed 57-4 by Wigan in their DW Stadium qualifying clash, in this round robin-esque format.

Meanwhile, St Helens look to have buried Castleford Tigers’ challenge for another campaign, with a 41-0 win in their corresponding fixture.

Castleford are the rank outsiders at 20/1 to lift the trophy and face Warrington next time out home, where the Wolves are priced at 10/11 to clear a four-point handicap.

Catalan Dragon can be backed at the same odds to beat Huddersfield with a six-point headstart.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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