16th Mar 2017 by TSZ
Super League Previews - Week Six
Salford Red Devils vs Castleford Tigers
SALFORD RED DEVILS
- Salford are coming off a poor loss to Wakefield in a game that they had gotten themselves in a position to win, only to throw it away with some disappointing play.
- Lama Tasi is suspended following his dangerous throw in the loss to Wakefield last week but they are boosted by Todd Carney being called up for the first time since signing, now his fitness levels are up to scratch.
- The club have opened talks with head coach Ian Watson over renewing his contract as they are generally happy with the job he is doing and the direction the team is going on the pitch.
Head Coach: Ian Watson
Squad: Jake Bibby, Kriss Brining, Justin Carney, Todd Carney, Michael Dobson, Mark Flanagan, Greg Johnson, Craig Kopczak, George Griffin, Ryan Lannon, Rob Lui, Ben Murdoch-Masila, Lee Mossop, Gareth O'Brien, Olsi Krasniqi, Junior Sa'u, Logan Tomkins, Adam Walne, Kris Welham
Unavailable: Lama Tasi (Suspended), Weller Huaraki (Foot), Jordan Walne, Josh Wood, Niall Evalds, Josh Jones
- Castleford's tremendous start to the season continues and they come off a highly impressive 34-0 destruction of Widnes, with their defence stepping up to match their potent attacking play.
- Just the one change in the Cas squad for this match as Will Maher replaces Luke Million in the 19-man list, though there is no place for Rangi Chase once again.
- The two Gregs - Eden and Minikin- will be looking to continue their hot run of form having scored eight tries apiece in the opening four matches, representing over 50% of Cas' total tries scored so far.
Head Coach: Daryl Powell
Squad: Matt Cook, Greg Eden, Luke Gale, Zak Hardaker, Andy Lynch, Will Maher, Nathan Massey, Mike McMeeken, Paul McShane, Grant Millington, Adam Milner, Greg Minikin, Joel Monaghan, Junior Moors, Jesse Sene-Lefao, Ben Roberts, Michael Shenton, Gadwin Springer, Jake Webster
Unavailable: Larne Patrick (Wrist), Rangi Chase (Out of favour), Alex Foster, Oliver Holmes, Luke Million
Analysis - what to expect
The Tigers look simply unstoppable right now with their attacking play thriving and now the defensive side of their team stepping up also. Salford are not helping themselves and some foolish penalties and sin-bins last week saw them lose to Wakefield. Any mistakes against this Cas team will be punished but regardless, they do not have the firepower to keep apace with the league's form team right now.
Wigan Warriors vs Huddersfield Giants
- Wigan sit second to Castleford on points difference but are 100% this season and are playing some excellent rugby as shown in the 38-16 win over Warrington last week.
- Despite the host of injuries, the strength of their squad is showing through with youngster Liam Marshall marking his second game for the club with four tries last weekend.
- Coach Shaun Wane has named the same set of 19 players for this game with none of his injured players fit to return, but they showed the quality of some of their younger players last week.
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)
- Huddersfield are in disarray right now and have lost their last two matches by a combined score of 78-8, which does not bode well for facing the best team in the league and Grand Final champions.
- Despite having the likes of Cudjoe and McGillvary back last week, they were off the pace and a number of players did not look close to their best form nor fitness.
- There is just one change to the squad from last week with Mikey Wood coming in to replace Gene Ormsby, but Stone will be hoping another week of training for his key men will see an improvement.
Head Coach: Rick Stone
Squad: Ryan Brierley, Danny Brough, Paul Clough, Leroy Cudjoe, Tyler Dickinson, Lee Gaskell, Ryan Hinchcliffe, Sebastine Ikahihifo, Kruise Leeming, Jermaine McGillvary, Darnell McIntosh, Alex Mellor, Aaron Murphy, Sam Rapira, Oliver Roberts, Daniel Smith, Ukuma Ta’ai, Shannon Wakeman, Mikey Wood
Unavailable: Jake Mamo (Ankle), Tom Symonds (Knee), Dale Ferguson (Groin), Michael Lawrence, Gene Ormsby
Analysis - what to expect
Not only do Wigan have a 100% record this season, they have also won the last 6 Super League meetings against the Giants so there is little statistical reason to expect anything different here. Despite their injury troubles, the Warriors are firing on all cylinders with players coming into the team and shining. Until the Giants can tighten up their leaky defensive play, they will struggle against any team and the Warriors should win this comfortably.
Catalans Dragons vs St Helens
- The Catalans come off a heavy loss to Leeds last week but they will be glad to return home and will aim to pick their form back up after a clear drop off in the last two matches.
- Coach Laurent Frayssinous has made four changes to the squad as Sam Moa, Fouad Yaha, Krisnan Inu and Thibaud Margalet all return at the expense of Greg Bird, Lucas Albert, Louis Anderson, and Jodie Broughton.
- This will be a big game for half-back Luke Walsh who faces his former club for the first time after leaving Saints in the summer, and he will be keen to show he still has plenty of rugby left in his legs.
Head Coach: Laurent Frayssinous
Squad: Paul Aiton, Jason Baitieri, Thomas Bosc, Julian Bousquet, Luke Burgess, Remi Casty, Alrix Da Costa, Vincent Duport, Ben Garcia, Justin Horo, Krisnan Inu, Thibaut Margalet, Sam Moa, Richie Myler, Mickael Simon, Iain Thornley, Luke Walsh, Brayden Wiliame, Fouad Yaha
Unavailable: Tony Gigot (Suspended), Greg Bird, Lucas Albert, Louis Anderson, Jodie Broughton
- Three consecutive defeats for Saints and there is plenty of criticism flying around the players and some of the tactics employed, most notably talented youngster Danny Richardson being dropped.
- Kieron Cunningham has named the same set of players for this game and he will have Alex Walmsley available after he pleaded an early guilty plea to a potential ban after last week's game.
- The Saints have been making far too many individual mistakes so far this season so they will look to eradicate those as they face the tough trip to France.
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, Calvin Wellington, Luke Thompson
Analysis - what to expect
St Helens have only managed one solitary win over Leeds on the opening day and have lost their last three but they have been competitive in every game. If they can eliminate their mistakes, then they should be capable of overcoming the Catalans but that is a big question mark. The visitors can edge this game, but either way, expect it to be yet another tight match involving the Saints.
Leeds Rhinos vs Wakefield Trinity
- Leeds Rhinos bounced back from their mauling by Castleford to hand Catalans a beating of their own last week and the mood is generally good after three wins in their last four matches.
- Brad Singleton has been handed a six-match ban for elbowing Greg Bird last week and he was duly hammered by coach Brian McDermott for letting his team-mates down with that action.
- McDermott is boosted by the return of Brett Ferres after a groin problem while Mitch Garbutt is back after a pectoral strain so the duo will strengthen the team notably despite Singleton and the injured Ormondroyd dropping out.
Head Coach: Brian McDermott
Squad: Carl Ablett, Jordan Baldwinson, Tom Briscoe, Rob Burrow, Adam Cuthbertson, Brett Delaney, Brett Ferres, Mitch Garbutt, Ashton Golding, Ryan Hall, Jimmy Keinhorst, Danny McGuire, Joel Moon, Anthony Mullally, Mikolaj Oledzki, Matt Parcell, Liam Sutcliffe, Josh Walters, Kallum Watkins
Unavailable: Keith Galloway (Achilles), Jamie Jones-Buchanan (Foot), Stevie Ward (Hamstring), Brad Singleton (Suspended), Jack Ormondroyd (Knee), Ash Handley
- Wakefield have turned their season around winning their last two matches against St Helens and Salford, so they will go into this match with local rivals Leeds with good confidence.
- Team news is negative overall with the in-form Reece Lyne suffering a knee ligament injury ruling him out for some weeks, while Anthony England is another to succumb to injury.
- They are however boosted by the return of Ben Jones-Bishop and Danny Kirmond after injury while Joe Arundel and Anthony Walker also come back into the 19-man squad for this Yorkshire derby.
Head Coach: Chris Chester
Squad: Mitch Allgood, Tinirau Arona, Joe Arundel, Matty Ashurst, Mason Caton-Brown, David Fifita, Liam Finn, Scott Grix, Dean Hadley, Craig Huby, Tom Johnstone, Ben Jones-Bishop, Danny Kirmond, Jacob Miller, Mikey Sio, Bill Tupou, Anthony Walker, Sam Williams, Kyle Wood
Unavailable: Reece Lyne (Knee), Anthony England (Foot), Keegan Hirst (Ankle), Jordan Crowther, Chris Annakin, James Batchelor
Analysis - what to expect
Both Leeds and Wakefield come into this televised derby in good shape but it is the home side who have more in their favour. The Rhinos have some positive team news while Wakefield have to deal with the loss of Reece Lyne and Anthony England. The loss to Castleford stung the Rhinos badly but the reaction has been good and if they maintain the level they showed against Catalans last week, they should have too much for Trinity.
Hull FC vs Widnes Vikings
- Hull come off two impressive wins over Huddersfield and St Helens as their confidence has improved, and they are showing signs of producing close to their best.
- They are boosted this week by the return of influential skipper Gareth Ellis following concussion after he passed all the required tests to come back into the squad following a two week absence.
- Winger Fetuli Talanoa is ruled out with a concussion of his own as Steve Michaels should come in for his first game of the season while Jack Downs is in for the suspended Jansin Turgut.
Head Coach: Lee Radford
Squad: Josh Bowden, Jake Connor, Jack Downs, Gareth Ellis, Mahe Fonua, Chris Green, Josh Griffin, Danny Houghton, Albert Kelly, Masi Matongo, Sika Manu, Steve Michaels, Mark Minichiello, Jamie Shaul, Marc Sneyd, Scott Taylor, Jordan Thompson, Carlos Tuimavave, Danny Washbrook
Unavailable: Dean Hadley (Hip), Liam Watts (Suspended), Jansin Turgut (Suspended), Fetuli Talanoa (Concussion)
- Widnes are still winless in the Super League this season and they were handed an absolute hammering by league leaders Castleford last week so desperation is growing to get that first win.
- Patrick Ah Van and Greg Burke have both been struggling with knocks lately and have not made the squad so Denis Betts' injury hit team have taken a couple more blows.
- Despite serving his suspension, Manase Manuokafoa has a knee problem so he is unavailable once again but Gil Dudson is passed fit to take his place in the 19-man squad.
Head Coach: Denis Betts
Squad: Tom Armstrong, Chris Bridge, Jack Buchanan, Hep Cahill, Jay Chapelhow, Ted Chapelhow, Danny Craven, Gil Dudson, Rhys Hanbury, Aaron Heremaia, Chris Houston, Jordan Johnstone, MacGraff Leuluai, Stefan Marsh, Tom Olbison, Charly Runciman, Corey Thompson, Lloyd White, Matt Whitley
Unavailable: Joe Mellor (Knee), Eamon O'Carroll (Shoulder), Chris Dean (Torn biceps), Alex Gerrard (Unknown), Tom Gilmore (Ankle), Patrick Ah Van (Unknown), Greg Burke (Unknown), Manase Manuokafoa (Knee)
Analysis - what to expect
Widnes have yet to win a game this season and injuries are not helping their cause. They have more to contend with for this game against a Hull FC side that is finding some form of their own now. Lee Radford's team have looked much better in their last two matches and they should be capable of comfortably dispatching Widnes in this one.
Leigh Centurions vs Warrington Wolves
- A week after being shut out by Wigan, Leigh produced a shut out of their own by hammering Huddersfield 30-0 last week in an outstanding all-round performance, already matching the two wins they achieved in the entire 2005 season.
- Glenn Stewart comes into the 19-man squad for the first time since the opening game of the season but Neil Jukes is unlikely to change too much after such a superb display in all facets of the game.
- They will look to make a fast start in front of their own fans and they fully expect a fired up Warrington side desperate to break their own duck this season.
Head Coach: Neil Jukes
Squad: Jamie Acton, Mitch Brown, Lachlan Burr, Ben Crooks, Matty Dawson, Josh Drinkwater, James Green, Ryan Hampshire, Harrison Hansen, Micky Higham, Adam Higson, Gareth Hock, Sam Hopkins, Eloi Pelissier, Ben Reynolds, Martyn Ridyard, Glenn Stewart, Danny Tickle, Atelea Vea
Unavailable: James Clare (Knee), Gregg McNally (Knee), Liam Hood (Calf), Dayne Weston (Unknown), Tom Armstrong (Unknown), Cory Paterson (Unknown), Willie Tonga (Injured), Curtis Naughton (Unknown)
- Warrington have now lost all four of their Super League matches and they were outclassed by Wigan last time out so their desperation to get off the mark will be eve greater this week.
- They are handed a notable boost by the return of Chris Hill after a shoulder problem has kept him out of action so far this season but he is not certain to figure just yet as he faces a late test.
- Declan Patton is the player to drop out of the squad despite the youngster starting the season in excellent kicking form, as Tony Smith will demand a massive improvement from his players.
Head Coach: Tony Smith
Squad: Ryan Atkins, Matty Blythe, Kevin Brown, Daryl Clark, Mike Cooper, Brad Dwyer, Rhys Evans, Kurt Gidley, Chris Hill, Jack Hughes, Jack Johnson, Tom Lineham, Harvey Livett, Joe Philbin, Matty Russell, Andre Savelio, Ashton Sims, Joe Westerman, Ben Westwood
Unavailable: Stefan Ratchford (Knee), Ben Currie (Knee), George King (Mumps), Dom Crosby (Personal reasons), Declan Patton (Unknown)
Analysis - what to expect
Warrington's start to the season has been woeful with many already suggesting that they could suffer a miserable campaign in similar fashion to Leeds Rhinos last season. This is already a must-win game for them and they face a Leigh side fresh off a 30-0 shut out win over Huddersfield. The Wolves will be massively motivated here and one has to expect their quality will come through in a performance - and this could be the game for that to happen.