Unavailable: Leroy Cudjoe, Shannon Wakeman, Tom Symonds, Jake Mamo, Jermaine McGilvary, Lee Gaskell, Kruise Leeming, Sam Wood, Dale Ferguson
Huddersfield’s hammering at Wigan was the final straw for the board who decided to part ways with head coach Rick Stone. The 48-10 loss came after a string of poor performances and results. Assistant coach Chris Thorman has taken over as interim head coach.
Thorman’s first game couldn’t have been much tougher as the Giants host reigning Champions Leeds Rhinos. To compound matters, Huddersfield have an injury crisis with Jermaine McGilvary, Lee Gaskell, Kruise Leeming, Sam Wood and Dale Ferguson all ruled out from last week’s squad whilst Danny Brough and Sebastine Ikahihifo are both doubts. Youngsters Louis Senior and Sam Hewitt receive call-ups to the 19-man squad.
Stone’s demise was arguably inevitable after a poor start to the season in which the Giants have won just two games from seven. Perhaps more alarmingly is their defensive record with 194 points shipped in those seven games, the most in Super League.
Unavailable: Nathaniel Peteru, Adam Cuthbertson, Stevie Ward, Liam Sutcliffe, Jimmy Keinhorst, Mitch Garbutt
Leeds were narrowly defeated by Castleford last week but almost produced one of the greatest comebacks in Super League history. The Rhinos found themselves 0-24 down at one stage but fought back to only lose by a point with the Tigers hanging on 24-25.
Brett Ferres could return from injury to face his former side having been named in the 19-man squad. He replaces Jack Ormondroyd in the only change for the Rhinos.
Leeds have conceded on average almost 10 points less per game than Huddersfield and that should be a major factor against the injury-hit Giants.
Huddersfield begin life without Rick Stone with a huge test as they host Leeds in what could be a rude awakening for interim head coach Chris Thorman. The Giants are without a host of players including some of their senior men and will be relying on a new coach ‘bounce’ to give them a lift. Huddersfield have struggled all season and will need a major improvement over the coming months in order to avoid the Middle 8s. Leeds will be looking to bounce back from last week’s disappointment but should do so in comfortable fashion here.