Super League Previews - Week Five

9th Mar 2017 by TSZ

Wakefield Trinity vs Salford Red Devils

The Lowdown

WAKEFIELD TRINITY

  • Wakefield finally snapped their long losing streak by stunning St Helens last week to give them a much needed boost in confidence and Chris Chester was delighted with their performance.
  • Two players could make their Super League debut for Wakefield with Mitch Allgood available after a concussion while loanee Dean Hadley is named in the squad for the first time since joining from Hull.
  • Danny Kirmond misses out with a knee injury picked up in the win over Saints while Chris Annakin and Joe Arundel drop out of the 19-man squad for this game.

Head Coach: Chris Chester

Squad: Mitch Allgood, Tinirau Arona, Matty Ashurst, James Batchelor, Mason Caton-Brown, Anthony England, David Fifita, Liam Finn, Scott Grix, Dean Hadley, Craig Huby, Tom Johnstone, Reece Lyne, Jacob Miller, Mikey Sio, Bill Tupou, Sam Williams, Kyle Wood

Unavailable: Keegan Hirst (Ankle), Ben Jones-Bishop (Head), Jordan Crowther (Out of favour), Anthony Walker (Unknown), Danny Kirmond (Knee), Chris Annakin (Unknown), Joe Arundel (Unknown)

SALFORD RED DEVILS

  • It has been a mixed bag of results so far for the Salford Red Devils but there were plenty of positives to take from the 24-14 win over Warrington last weekend for Ian Watson's men.
  • They welcome Ben Murdoch-Masila into the squad for the first time this season after a knee injury while Niall Evans also comes in as Jake Bibby, Josh Wood and Ryan Lannon all drop out of the squad.
  • Star winger Justin Carney is back after a two-match ban which he received for making contact with an official, and he will be raring to add to his 65 try tally in 78 Super League matches.

Head Coach: Ian Watson

Squad: Adam Walne, Ben Murdoch-Masila, Craig Kopczak, Gareth O'Brien, George Griffin, Greg Johnson, Josh Jones, Junior Sa'u, Justin Carney, Kris Welham, Kriss Brining, Lama Tasi, Lee Mossop, Logan Tomkins, Mark Flanagan, Michael Dobson, Niall Evalds, Olsi Krasniqi, Rob Lui

Unavailable: Todd Carney (Fitness), Weller Huaraki (Foot), Jordan Walne (Unknown), Jake Bibby (Unknown), Josh Wood (Unknown), Ryan Lannon (Unknown)


Analysis - what to expect
Wakefield will be buoyed from the win over Saints, their first in 11 Super League matches, but this will be a tough test against this Salford team. Ian Watson's men have been improving every game since the opening day loss to Wigan and with Carney and Murdoch-Masila back, they are close to their strongest squad. They have a good record against Wakefield and we just favour them to edge a close game.

Widnes Vikings vs Castleford Tigers

The Lowdown

WIDNES VIKINGS

  • Denis Betts' men came the closest so far to getting their first win of the season as they grabbed a draw in France against the Catalans, but they will be looking to go a step further here.
  • Forward Greg Burke is back in the squad for this game after he missed the trip last week as his wife was giving birth, so Jordan Johnstone makes way in the 19-man squad for him.
  • That is the only change to the squad from last week as they are still without a raft of players, and they will have to step up their play another notch, especially defensively, against the in-form Tigers.

Head Coach: Denis Betts

Squad: Patrick Ah Van, Tom Armstrong, Chris Bridge, Jack Buchanan, Greg Burke, Hep Cahill, Jay Chapelhow, Danny Craven, Gil Dudson, Rhys Hanbury, Aaron Heremaia, Chris Houston, MacGraff Leuluai, Stefan Marsh, Tom Olbison, Charly Runciman, Corey Thompson, Lloyd White, Matt Whitley

Unavailable: Joe Mellor (Knee), Manase Manuokafoa (Suspended), Eamon O'Carroll (Shoulder), Chris Dean (Torn biceps), Alex Gerrard (Unknown), Tom Gilmore (Ankle), Ted Chapelhow (Unknown), Jordan Johnstone (Unknown)

CASTLEFORD TIGERS

  • The Castleford Tigers continue their impressive start to the season and they come off a resounding 66-10 win over Yorkshire rivals Leeds so confidence is sky high right now.
  • As they seek to continue their 100% record, Daryl Powell has opted to leave Rangi Chase out of the squad once again after being disciplined for an off-the-field matter.
  • Ben Roberts and Luke Million have been recalled to the squad at the expense of Will Maher and Alex Foster in what are the only changes from the win last week.

Head Coach: Daryl Powell

Squad: Matt Cook, Greg Eden,  Luke Gale, Zak Hardaker, Andy Lynch, Nathan Massey, Mike McMeeken, Paul McShane, Grant Millington, Luke Million, Adam Milner, Greg Minikin, Joel Monaghan, Junior Moors, Jesse Sene-Lefao, Ben Roberts, Michael Shenton, Gadwin Springer, Jake Webster

Unavailable: Oliver Holmes (Unknown), Larne Patrick (Wrist), Rangi Chase (Out of favour), Will Maher (Unknown), Alex Foster (Unknown)


Analysis - what to expect
There was an improvement in the Vikings' performance last week in Perpignan, but whether that level is enough to stop the Cas juggernaut remains to be seen. The Tigers are the form team in the Super League right now and it seems unlikely that this Widnes defence is going to be able to stop them and do what no team have been able to do so far this season to slow them down. Another win in another high scoring affair for Cas.

Leigh Centurions vs Huddersfield Giants

The Lowdown

LEIGH CENTURIONS

  • Leigh were brought crashing back down to earth after their first Super League win when they came up against a brick wall in the Wigan defence and they were held without scoring.
  • Coach Neil Jukes brings back Martyn Ridyard and Adam Higson after the latter recovered from injury so that will boost their options on the wing and their creativity.
  • Centre Willie Tonga drops out through injury however and Curtis Naughton is the other player to make way as they look to bounce back in front of their home fans.

Head Coach: Neil Jukes

Squad: Mitch Brown, Ben Crooks, Matty Dawson, Josh Drinkwater, Gareth Hock, Micky Higham, Adam Higson, Harrison Hansen, Eloi Pelissier, Martyn Ridyard, Danny Tickle, Atelea Vea, Ben Reynolds, James Green, Sam Hopkins, Jamie Acton, Lachlan Burr

Unavailable: James Clare (Knee), Gregg McNally (Knee), Glenn Stewart (Unknown), Liam Hood (Calf), Tom Armstrong (Unknown), Cory Paterson (Unknown), Willie Tonga (Injured), Curtis Naughton (Unknown)

HUDDERSFIELD GIANTS

  • Huddersfield were hugely disappointing in their 48-8 drubbing at home to Hull last week and Rick Stone is demanding they make a faster and better start to the game here to match Leigh's intensity.
  • Jermaine McGillvary (quad), Leroy Cudjoe (knee), Lee Gaskell (heart scare), Aaron Murphy (ankle) and Ukuma Ta’ai (suspension) are all available again to boost Stone's squad and that should make a notable difference.
  • Dale Ferguson remains out with his groin complaint but they will assess the fitness of their returning players with Stone unwilling to take any chances if any are not 100%.

Head Coach: Rick Stone

Squad: Paul Aiton, Lucas Albert, Jason Baitieri, Greg Bird, Thomas Bosc, Julian Bousquet, Luke Burgess, Iain Thornley, Louis Anderson, Jodie Broughton, Remi Casty, Vincent Duport, Ben Garcia, Justin Horo, Thibaut Margalet, Richie Myler, Mickael Simon, Luke Walsh, Brayden Wiliame, Alrix Da Costa

Unavailable: Jake Mamo (Ankle), Tom Symonds (Knee), Michael Lawrence (Unknown), Dale Ferguson (Groin), Mikey Wood (Unknown)


Analysis - what to expect
Huddersfield were mauled by Hull last week but with the likes of Cudjoe, McGillvary and Ta'ai back, they look a much different proposition. Leigh will be fired up to bounce back themselves and the atmosphere will be hot as former fans' favourite Ryan Brierley returns against his former club. Assuming the Giants' key men are fit to play, they may just have too much firepower for Leigh.

Leeds Rhinos vs Catalans Dragons

The Lowdown

LEEDS RHINOS

  • There have been no knee-jerk reactions to the Rhinos' heaviest defeat in the modern era to Castleford last week, but the pressure is mounting on coach Brian McDermott.
  • Injuries continue to hamper them and Jamie Jones-Buchanan and Stevie Ward are the latest to drop out but they can count upon Carl Ablett after suspension, while Rob Burrow has recovered from illness.
  • Tom Briscoe comes back into the squad at the expense of Ash Handley as McDermott tries to changes things around to spark a reaction from his players after the dismal loss last week.

Head Coach: Brian McDermott

Squad: Carl Ablett, Ashton Golding, Tom Briscoe, Kallum Watkins, Joel Moon, Ryan Hall, Danny McGuire, Rob Burrow, Matt Parcell, Adam Cuthbertson, Liam Sutcliffe, Brad Singleton, Anthony Mullally, Brett Delaney, Jimmy Keinhorst, Josh Walters, Jack Ormondroyd, Jordan Lilley, Jordan Baldinwson

Unavailable: Brett Ferres (Groin), Keith Galloway (Achilles), Mitch Garbutt (Pectoral), Jamie Jones-Buchanan (Foot), Stevie Ward (Hamstring), Ash Handley (Unknown)

CATALANS DRAGONS

  • The Dragons' fine start to the season continued last week with a draw against Widnes so they remain unbeaten, and Laurent Frayssinous is happy with the direction of his team.
  • Forward Julian Bousquet is available again after injury while fellow forward Jason Baitieri returns from his suspension so the inclusion of both strengthens them notably.
  • Krisnan Inu misses out however but that will not overly concern Frayssinous and his men who travel to Yorkshire with plenty of confidence to upset the hosts.

Head Coach: Laurent Frayssinous

Squad: Paul Aiton, Lucas Albert, Jason Baitieri, Greg Bird, Thomas Bosc, Julian Bousquet, Luke Burgess, Iain Thornley, Louis Anderson, Jodie Broughton, Remi Casty, Vincent Duport, Ben Garcia, Justin Horo, Thibaut Margalet, Richie Myler, Mickael Simon, Luke Walsh, Brayden Wiliame, Alrix Da Costa

Unavailable: Tony Gigot (Suspended), Sam Moa (Ankle), Fouad Yaha (Knee), Krisnan Inu (Injured)


Analysis - what to expect
Matches between these two sides have historically seen plenty of points with 53 per game over the last six matches, and Leeds' defence last week showed little sign of being able to stop Cas. While one would expect a reaction from McDermott's men, confidence is low and they are somewhat unpredictable. Expect points and this could be a good opportunity for the Dragons to register their fourth win in a row over Leeds.

Hull FC vs St Helens

The Lowdown

HULL FC

  • Hull FC put in their best performance of the season so far in their comprehensive 48-8 win at Huddersfield last week so that should serve to kick start their season and prepare them for this test.
  • There is no new team news for coach Lee Radford as the side will be without influential skipper Gareth Ellis so Jordan Thompson deputises for him once again.
  • Prop Liam Watts is still banned so youngster Masi Matongo continues in his place as Danny Houghton makes his 250th appearance for the team in the Steve Prescott Cup.

Head Coach: Lee Radford

Squad: Josh Bowden, Jake Connor, Mahe Fonua, Chris Green, Josh Griffin, Danny Houghton, Albert Kelly, Masi Matongo, Sika Manu, Steve Michaels, Mark Minichiello, Jamie Shaul, Marc Sneyd, Fetuli Talanoa, Scott Taylor, Jordan Thompson, Carlos Tuimavave, Danny Washbrook

Unavailable: Dean Hadley (Hip), Liam Watts (Suspended), Gareth Ellis (Whiplash), Jansin Turgut (Unknown)

ST HELENS

  • Despite winning their opening match against Leeds, Saints have lost their last two games against Leigh and Wakefield so they clearly have plenty to work on as they travel to East Yorkshire.
  • They welcome Luke Douglas into the squad after a troublesome finger injury and he replaces Danny Richardson in what is the only change to the 19-man squad.
  • Matty Smith and Jonny Lomax remain out so with Richardson dropping out, Jon Wilkin or Tommy Lee will fill-in at half-back as Cunningham looks to change things around.

Head Coach: Keiron Cunningham

Squad: Kyle Amor, Jack Ashworth, Luke Douglas, Theo Fages, Morgan Knowles, Tommy Lee, Tommy Makinson, Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook, Ryan Morgan, Jack Owens, Mark Percival, Dominique Peyroux, Greg Richards, James Roby, Adam Swift, Zeb Taia, Adam Walker, Alex Walmsley, Jon Wilkin

Unavailable: Matty Smith (Broken leg), Jonny Lomax (Leg), Danny Richardson (Unknown), Calvin Wellington (Unknown), Luke Thompson (Unknown)


Analysis - what to expect
Momentum is with Hull FC coming into this game and so is recent history as they have a good record against Kieron Cunningham's men. Saints are not playing well and slow starts are costing them badly. They cannot afford that against this potent Hull side who will punish them more than Leigh and Wakefield did. Everything points towards a home win in East Yorkshire.

Warrington Wolves vs Wigan Warriors

The Lowdown

WARRINGTON WOLVES

  • Despite losing all three matches so far in the Super League, Tony Smith and his Warrington Wolves are refusing to hit the panic button just yet and are confident they can kick start their season.
  • Dom Crosby missed the game last weekend with his partner going into labour and misses out here once again as Joe Philbin comes into the squad to make up the 19 players.
  • Matty Russell was another late withdrawal from the trip to the AJ Bell Stadium with a back spasm but has recovered sufficiently to take his part in the squad and should be fine to play.

Head Coach: Tony Smith

Squad: Ryan Atkins, Matty Blythe, Kevin Brown, Daryl Clark, Mike Cooper, Brad Dwyer, Rhys Evans, Kurt Gidley, Jack Hughes, Jack Johnson, Tom Lineham, Harvey Livett, Declan Patton, Joe Philbin, Matty Russell, Andre Savelio, Ashton Sims, Joe Westerman, Ben Westwood

Unavailable: Stefan Ratchford (Knee), Ben Currie (Knee), Chris Hill (Hernia/Shoulder), George King (Mumps), Dom Crosby (Personal reasons)

WIGAN WARRIORS

  • Wigan's superb start to the season continued last week as they produced a shut out over Leigh Centurions in a 20-0 win and they have now won eight on the spin.
  • Injuries continue to hamper them however and this week they have lost wingers Joe Burgess and Lewis Tierney to injury so that reduces their firepower significantly.
  • Youngsters Jack Wells, Liam Forsyth and Tom Davies could all make their senior debuts after being called up and this is a vastly weakened Wigan side overall.

Head Coach: Shaun Wane

Squad: Joe Bretherton, Tony Clubb, Tom Davies, Morgan Escaré, Liam Farrell, Ben Flower, Liam Forsyth, Anthony Gelling, Willie Isa, Thomas Leuluai, Liam Marshall, Romain Navarrete, Frank-Paul Nuuausala, Sean O'Loughlin, Sam Powell, Taulima Tautai, Joel Tomkins, Jack Wells, George Williams

Unavailable: Sam Tomkins (Ankle), Dom Manfredi (Knee), Michael McIlorum (Ankle), Oliver Gildart (Shoulder), John Bateman (Shoulder), Jake Shorrocks (Knee), Joe Burgess (Knee), Ryan Sutton (Eye), Lewis Tierney (Knee)


Analysis - what to expect
The two Grand Finalists meet again in different circumstances this time with Warrington amazingly having lost all three matches so far in the league. As they come up against a Wigan side that has won all three of theirs, that should see the Wolves raise their game as they did against Brisbane and on their day they are capable of beating anybody. Given the fact the Warriors are massively weakened, Tony Smith's men will get off the mark here.

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