Having flogged hapless Gateshead on consecutive weekends to the tune of 108 points North Wales crusaders are probably the form team in Championship 1's also-rans chasing pack.
Having played a game more than both Hornets and Whitehaven and with a minus 96 points difference, their local paper's exhortations that the Crusaders are "… back in the promotion hunt…" stretches even the most optimistic outlook to extremes.
But coach Clive Griffiths is a happy chap. Reaching for an aquatic metaphor, he said: “There’s five games to go and I’m sure that there’s a lot of water to go under the bridge yet. We’re happy to be where we are the moment." So why spoil such contentment? A Hornets win on Sunday would pull us closer to Whitehaven and leave the Crusaders in their 'happy place' - which suits us here at TLCRF80mins Towers just fine.
However, Clive's had his calculator out and continues to fuel unrealistic expectation with a combustible combination of maths and hubris. According to the Daily Post, Griffiths: "… says his players know a top-four place is still not mathematically out of their grasp and are motivated right until the final day, which could see a winner-takes-all game against Whitehaven…" Played, no doubt, on the moon given the likelihood of that too.
Griffiths has also said this week: “The league table is always in the back of your mind. If Oldham hadn’t got that late drop goal on the weekend, then we would have been sixth." And if I had tits I'd be my sister, Clive.
A 12-man Hornets bent the Crusaders over to the tune of 50 points earlier in the season, but they do seem to have toughened up their act since then, with Andy Gorski and Dave McConnell following the scent of new fivers down the A55 after being loaned out by Swinton.
Ultimately, Griffiths sees their season hanging on the next three games (against Hornets, South Wales and the Skolars): "… (they) are going to be vital." he said. "If we’ve any hopes of getting in the play-offs, we’ve to get a couple of wins in these games.”
Good luck at Neath and London.