Super League Previews - Week Four

Catalans Dragons vs Widnes Vikings

The Lowdown

CATALANS DRAGONS

  • The Dragons' strong start to the season continues and after winning their opening two matches they will be confident at home against this winless Widnes side.
  • Frayssinous has called up Luke Burgess for the first time due to the injuries to props Julian Bousquet and Sam Moa, meaning Burgess should play his first minutes as a Dragon.
  • Jason Baitieri is suspended after making contact with official Robert Hicks in the win over Hull FC last week but they have Lucas Albert back and Thibaud Margalet comes in.

Head Coach: Laurent Frayssinous

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

Unavailable: Tony Gigot (Suspended), Julian Bousquet (Knee), Sam Moa (Ankle), Fouad Yaha (Knee), Jason Baitieri (Suspended)

WIDNES VIKINGS

  • Widnes have now lost five games in a row and the defeat last week to Wigan after leading 26-12 with twenty minutes left was particularly deflating for Denis Betts and his side.
  • Winger Patrick Ah Van comes back into the squad to add to Betts' options with Greg Burke dropping out of an otherwise unchanged squad.
  • Full-back Rhys Hanbury is just one point away from reaching the 500-point mark so he will be motivated to reach that milestone and help his side break this losing run.

Head Coach: Denis Betts

Squad: Patrick Ah Van, Tom Armstrong, Chris Bridge, Jack Buchanan, Hep Cahill, Jay 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), Manase Manuokafoa (Suspended), Eamon O'Carroll (Shoulder), Chris Dean (Torn biceps), Alex Gerrard (Unknown), Tom Gilmore (Ankle), Ted Chapelhow (Unknown), Greg Burke (Unknown)


Analysis - what to expect
Two sides in opposing situations after the opening two matches and this will be a tough ask for Widnes to get their first win against the unbeaten French side. The Dragons' games have been low scoring and relatively close and this could very well follow suit. With a couple of absentees, this may not be the foregone conclusion that some think and it could easily go either way in a low scoring game.

Salford Red Devils vs Warrington Wolves

The Lowdown

SALFORD RED DEVILS

  • Salford felt hard done by last week after a forward pass led to Leeds' winning try but they competed well and Watson was not displeased with the effort of his side.
  • Recent signing Todd Carney remains unavailable as he builds up his fitness while namesake Justin Carney sits out the second of his two-match ban.
  • Ian Watson has named the same squad once again for this game and despite missing some regular starters, they have good continuity among this set of players.

Head Coach: Ian Watson

Squad: Adam Walne, Craig Kopczak, Gareth O'Brien, George Griffin, Greg Johnson, Jake Bibby, Josh Jones, Josh Wood, Junior Sa'u, Kris Welham, Kriss Brining, Lama Tasi, Lee Mossop, Logan Tomkins, Mark Flanagan, Michael Dobson, Olsi Krasniqi, Rob Lui, Ryan Lannon

Unavailable: Todd Carney (Fitness), Ben Murdoch-Masila (Knee), Weller Huaraki (Foot), Jordan Walne (Unknown), Justin Carney (Suspended)

WARRINGTON WOLVES

  • Warrington are bottom of the Super League after losing their first two matches with the World Club Series proving to have been a notable distraction to them.
  • Tony Smith makes one change to his squad as Joe Philbin drops out with full-back Jack Johnson coming in for him but otherwise the squad is relatively settled.
  • In both of their opening Super League matches, they have failed to play with the same intensity that they had in the win against Brisbane so Tony Smith will be looking for them to raise themselves here.

Head Coach: Tony Smith

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

Unavailable: Stefan Ratchford (Knee), Ben Currie (Knee), Chris Hill (Hernia/Shoulder), George King (Mumps), Joe Philbin (Injured)


Analysis - what to expect
Both the Red Devils and the Wolves have been playing below their best but it is the visitors who have plenty more margin for improvement. Tony Smith will be demanding his players play with the same focus and intensity that saw them beat Brisbane, and not the version of the team that has lost both games so far. The loss to Castleford was a wake-up call last week and they should have the quality to get their season up and running against Salford.

Wigan Warriors vs Leigh Centurions

The Lowdown

WIGAN WARRIORS

  • After all the drama with the postponement and subsequent rearrangement of the Widnes game last week, the Warriors managed to come back from 26-12 down with 20 minutes left to win 28-26.
  • The in-form Oliver Gildart misses out with a shoulder issue, while a shoulder problem also keeps John Bateman from the squad and Jake Shorrocks is suffering a knee issue.
  • Those absentees allow Joe Bretherton and Liam Forsyth to come into the squad in what is an increasingly weakened set of players as their injury list continues to grow.

Head Coach: Shaun Wane

Squad: Joe Bretherton, Joe Burgess, Tony Clubb, Morgan Escaré, Liam Farrell, Ben Flower, Liam Forsyth, Anthony Gelling, Willie Isa, Thomas Leuluai, Liam Marshall, Frank-Paul Nuuausala, Sean O'Loughlin, Sam Powell, Ryan Sutton, Taulima Tautai, Lewis Tierney, Joel Tomkins, George Williams

Unavailable: Sam Tomkins (Ankle), Dom Manfredi (Knee), Michael McIlorum (Ankle), Oliver Gildart (Shoulder), John Bateman (Shoulder), Jake Shorrocks (Knee)

LEIGH CENTURIONS

  • Leigh picked up their first win in the Super League since 2005 as they stunned St Helens and they now face another tough challenge in Wigan.
  • Dayne Weston has overcome his ankle problem and returns to the squad with Ben Crooks joining him, while Adam Higson and Cory Paterson drop out for them.
  • Without a win against Wigan in 33 years, the Centurions were buoyed by their win over St Helens last week and they will take their physical approach and look to match Wigan.

Head Coach: Neil Jukes

Squad: Mitch Brown, Ben Crooks, Willie Tonga, Matty Dawson, Josh Drinkwater, Gareth Hock, Micky Higham, Dayne Weston, Harrison Hansen, Eloi Pelissier, Danny Tickle, Atelea Vea, Ryan Hampshire, Ben Reynolds, James Green, Sam Hopkins, Jamie Acton, Lachlan Burr, Curtis Naughton

Unavailable: James Clare (Knee), Gregg McNally (Knee), Martyn Ridyard (Unknown), Glenn Stewart (Unknown), Liam Hood (Calf), Tom Armstrong (Unknown), Adam Higson (Unknown), Cory Paterson (Unknown)


Analysis - what to expect
The Warriors are without a number of players with Gildart and Bateman the latest to pick up knocks so that leaves them weakened to face Leigh. The visitors will be highly motivated to test themselves and cause an upset against the champions. They should be able to keep this competitive for a good part of the game but Wigan's power and physicality should wear them down ultimately.

St Helens vs Wakefield Trinity

The Lowdown

ST HELENS

  • St Helens were stunned by Leigh last week so Keiron Cunningham will be demanding a reaction after the embarrassing defeat and that could spell danger for their opponents Wakefield.
  • Jonny Lomax and Luke Douglas are both out of the squad through injury but Calvin Wellington comes in and recent signing Zeb Taia has received international clearance and could make his debut.
  • Saints made a slow start against Leigh last week and that is one thing they will look to avoid here with Cunningham and skipper Jon Wilkin both speaking about how they must play at full speed right from the start.

Head Coach: Keiron Cunningham

Squad: Tommy Makinson, Ryan Morgan, Mark Percival, Adam Swift, Theo Fages, Alex Walmsley, James Roby, Kyle Amor, Jon Wilkin, Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook, Adam Walker, Luke Thompson, Tommy Lee, Dominique Peyroux, Morgan Knowles, Jack Owens, Danny Richardson, Calvin Wellington, Zeb Taia

Unavailable: Matty Smith (Broken leg), Jonny Lomax (Uknown), Luke Douglas (Finger)

WAKEFIELD TRINITY

  • Wakefield lost their tenth consecutive game dating back to last season and they continue to struggle even if there were some positives in the defeat to Huddersfield.
  • Ben Jones-Bishop is out after taking a blow to the head last week while Jordan Crowther and Anthony Walker also drop out of the playing squad for this game.
  • Joe Arundel comes into the squad along with academy product James Batchelor and Mason Caton-Brown could make his debut for the club after being named in the 19.

Head Coach: Chris Chester

Squad: Chris Annakin, Tinirau Arona, Joe Arundel, Matty Ashurst, James Batchelor, Mason Caton-Brown, Anthony England, David Fifita, Liam Finn, Scott Grix, Craig Huby, Tom Johnstone, Danny Kirmond, Reece Lyne, Jacob Miller, Mikey Sio, Bill Tupou, Sam Williams, Kyle Wood

Unavailable: Mitch Allgood (Head), Keegan Hirst (Ankle), Ben Jones-Bishop (Head), Jordan Crowther (Out of favour), Anthony Walker (Unknown)


Analysis - what to expect
Saints' shock loss to Leigh last week was possibly the worst thing that could have happened to Wakefield as the hosts will be desperate to bounce back. Trinity continue to be stuck in a negative dynamic and have lost their last ten matches now and with the Saints looking to bounce back, this should be a comfortable home victory.

Huddersfield Giants vs Hull FC

The Lowdown

HUDDERSFIELD GIANTS

  • Huddersfield come off a 24-16 win over Wakefield but they did not have it all their own way for long spells of the game and they will need to step up their performance levels once again.
  • They welcome back skipper Leroy Cudjoe after his knee injury ruled him out late last week but that will only compensate for the loss of flying winger Jermaine McGillvary who is out for up to six weeks with a quad injury.
  • Back-row forward Ukuma Ta'ai is also absent after pleading guilty to a disciplinary charge from last week's game so Mikey Wood and Gene Ormsby come into the 19-man squad for this game.

Head Coach: Rick Stone

Squad: Gene Ormsby, Leroy Cudjoe, Lee Gaskell, Aaron Murphy, Danny Brough, Ryan Brierley, Sam Rapira, Ryan Hinchcliffe, Mikey Wood, Shannon Wakeman, Dale Ferguson, Kruise Leeming, Sebastine Ikahihifo, Oliver Roberts, Paul Clough, Daniel Smith, Tyler Dickinson, Darnell McIntosh, Alex Mellor

Unavailable: Jake Mamo (Ankle), Tom Symonds (Knee), Michael Lawrence (Unknown), Ukuma Ta'ai (Suspended), Jermaine McGillvary (Quadriceps)

HULL FC

  • It has been a disappointing start to the season for Hull and their performances have been below par so there is pressure on them already so early in the season to improve.
  • Albert Kelly returns after suspension but skipper Gareth Ellis misses out through whiplash, while Liam Watts was handed a hefty four-match ban for a dangerous tackle last week against Catalans.
  • Coach Lee Radford leapt to the defence of Marc Sneyd after he was heavily criticised by former Hull FC player Garry Schofield and that should spark a response from both Sneyd and the rest of the team.

Head Coach: Lee Radford

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

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


Analysis - what to expect
Both teams are missing some key players coming into this game but the heavy criticism of Marc Sneyd may just work in Hull's favour. Neither side are in great form, but Hull will be highly motivated for this one and they can edge what should be a tight game.

Castleford Tigers vs Leeds Rhinos

The Lowdown

CASTLEFORD TIGERS

  • Castleford come off an outstanding performance and victory over Warrington last week so confidence is sky high as they top the table after two wins from two.
  • Rangi Chase has however been dropped following an internal investigation for which there have been no details provided but the half-back is unavailable for selection here.
  • They welcome back Paul McShane after suspension to boost their options while Ben Roberts and Luke Million drop out of the squad at the expense of Will Maher and Alex Foster.

Head Coach: Daryl Powell

Squad: Matt Cook, Greg Eden, Alex Foster, 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, Michael Shenton, Gadwin Springer, Jake Webster

Unavailable: Oliver Holmes (Unknown), Larne Patrick (Wrist), Rangi Chase (Out of favour), Ben Roberts (Unknown), Luke Million (Unknown)

LEEDS RHINOS

  • Leeds scraped their second win of the season last week thanks to a controversial try which helped them beat Salford and despite winning their last two matches, they are still far from their best form.
  • Brett Delaney is back to boost Brian McDermott's squad but he has lost the suspended Carl Ablett whilst Mitch Garbutt suffered a freak pectoral injury in training to rule him out of action.
  • Ash Handley is another to return to the playing squad as Anthony Mullally makes way but Jamie Jones-Buchanan and Stevie Ward have been passed fit after niggles this week.

Head Coach: Brian McDermott

Squad: Ashton Golding, Tom Briscoe, Kallum Watkins, Joel Moon, Ryan Hall, Danny McGuire, Rob Burrow, Matt Parcell, Adam Cuthbertson, Jamie Jones-Buchanan, Stevie Ward, Liam Sutcliffe, Brad Singleton, Brett Delaney, Jimmy Keinhorst, Josh Walters, Ash Handley, Jack Ormondroyd

Unavailable: Brett Ferres (Groin), Keith Galloway (Achilles), Anthony Mullally (Out of favour), Mitch Garbutt (Pectoral), Carl Ablett (Suspended)


Analysis - what to expect
Both of these sides have won their last two matches but it is Castleford whose performances have been particularly impressive while the Rhinos have been scraping victories. The Tigers are scoring points for fun and look dangerous every time they go forward, while Leeds are still not firing offensively and they will struggle to keep up with the hosts in this one.