Wigan will lift their first Super League leaders' shield for a decade if they beat Huddersfield tonight, but Michael Maguire, their coach, is refusing to look beyond the end of the 80 minutes. Regardless of what rivals Warrington do in their afternoon kick-off at Wakefield, the Warriors will finish top of the pile for the first time since 2000 if they pick up their 21st win of the season.
Points difference would probably see them safe even if they lose, but Maguire, back in the country after taking time off following his father's death in Australia, is not taking anything for granted. "Huddersfield are a quality side, they have a number of players coming back this weekend," he said. "Like everyone at this time of year they are trying to build some momentum going to the business end. Every time we play them it is a tough encounter and we are expecting exactly the same."
Maguire, who saw his men beat Hull and Leeds under the guidance of Shaun Wane while he was away, is hoping they can maintain their momentum after a week off for the Challenge Cup semi-finals. "We got a bit of confidence out of the two wins but this is another week and we need to turn up and be the best we can and do what we have been doing week in, week out," he added. Meanwhile, it promises to be an emotional day at Belle Vue where the Wakefield Trinity Wildcats, still in with an outside chance of reaching the play-offs, will say goodbye to Jason Demetriou, their Australian forward. The 35-year-old has been with the club for six years and has captained them through the death of two players, but will leave at the end of the season after not being offered a new deal.
The game with Warrington Wolves is his final game on home soil and John Kear, the coach, said: "JD is one of the great overseas signings made by this club and he's been a great servant to the Wildcats." The Harlequins last night beat the Catalan Dragons 16-12 to move two points clear of the Dragons at the foot of the table. Meanwhile, Luke Burgess, the Leeds Rhinos prop, is set to miss the Carnegie Challenge Cup Final after breaking his jaw.
The 23-year-old prop suffered the injury in Friday night's 38-6 win at Castleford and is expected to miss the Wembley showpiece with Warrington on August 28. In Australia's NRL, Canberra Raiders live to fight another day in 2010 after seeing off Canterbury Bulldogs 28-14 in a slogging NRL encounter at ANZ Stadium. Breakaway tries in the second half from the impressive Jarrod Croker, Josh McCrone and Daniel Vidot helped the Raiders come from behind to maintain hope of a first finals campaign since 2008.
Gold Coast Titans defied a North Queensland Cowboys comeback to put the Titans into second place on the NRL ladder yesterday. The Titans appeared to have the game locked up at half time leading 19-0 but the visitors came storming back to narrow the gap to 19-18 before the Titans score two tries in theee minutes and ran out 37-18 winners. * Agencies