Salford Red Devils can see off French raiders
Travel-sick Toulouse set for another away defeat
Sky Sports Arena, 7.45pm Thursday
The scramble for spots in next season’s Betfred Super League has reached its climax and the only certainty is that Widnes and Halifax won’t be part of rugby league’s elite in 2019.
Four teams from the remaining six of Leeds, Salford, Hull KR, Toronto, Toulouse and London will be mixing it with the top teams next year.
Salford looked safe three weeks ago as they defeated Toronto 28-16 to record a fourth straight win, but the late sending-off and subsequent two-match suspension of talisman Jackson Hastings proved costly.
The Red Devils lost narrowly to Leeds and London and now must beat Toulouse at the AJ Bell Stadium to be sure of maintaining their Super League status.
Hastings returns for this crucial match and George Griffin and Logan Tomkins are back in the squad.
The French club’s realistic goal is a fourth- or fifth-placed finish in this mini-league which would give them a shot at the Million Pound Game and the final Super League spot next weekend.
They go into the match buzzing after a thrilling comeback win at home to Hull KR when a 19-0 deficit was turned into a 34-23 victory. That was typical of the swashbuckling style of Sylvain Houles’s side.
However, all the evidence points to Toulouse being a much better team when they play on the other side of the Channel.
They have lost all three of their away games in the Qualifiers, at Leeds, London and Toronto.
Salford’s two home ties have resulted in double-digit margins of victory and they boast six similarly comprehensive wins on their own midden in Super League’s regular season.
Ian Watson’s men look a decent bet to cover the eight-point handicap line.
4pts 10-11 Betway
Read Racing Post Sport every day for no-nonsense previews and expert sports betting tips
Follow us on Twitter @racingpostsport