Super League Round 19 Preview
Castleford Tigers vs St Helens
Round 19 kicks off with Castleford Tigers hosting St Helens in what promises to be an enthralling encounter between two of Super League’s in-form teams.
Cas, buoyed by their 31-24 win over Leeds Rhinos, go into this encounter eager to extend their winning run to four, which could see them leapfrog Huddersfield Giants into fourth.
Head coach Daryl Powell makes two changes to his 19-man squad, welcoming back Matt Cook and joint top club try scorer Justin Carney.
Thursday night’s visitors to the Mend-A-Hose Jungle, St Helens will arrive riding on the crest of a wave after recording four straight league wins – including the impressive 30-14 triumph over rivals Wigan Warriors last Friday.
Keiron Cunningham also had positive news on the injury front with the returns of Luke Walsh, Joe Greenwood and Luke Thompson with Lewis Charnock, Jack Ashworth and Matty Fleming losing their places in the squad.
St Helens by 12
Wigan Warriors vs Salford Red Devils
Friday night’s double bill of fixtures sees Wigan Warriors return to the DW Stadium hosting Salford Red Devils.
Shaun Wane will be less than happy after Wigan fell away in the second-half against St Helens and will be looking for a response from his troops.
The Warriors coach threw his support behind Matty Bowen after the full-back made two glaring errors against Saints by saying, “One performance doesn’t make him a bad player.”
Dom Manfredi is the only change to Wigan’s side with the academy product replacing Josh Charnley. John Bateman and Sam Powell are also named in the squad despite picking up knocks in the previous game but Iain Thornley, Anthony Gelling and Tony Clubb all remain on the sidelines.
Fresh from recording their first victory in eight, Salford travel to the lush new turf of the DW Stadium more in hope than expectation.
Wane confirmed at Tuesday’s press conference that on-loan Logan Tomkins will be allowed to play in the game and Iestyn Harris has named the half-back in his 19. There are also timely returns for Michael Dobson, Lama Tasi, Weller Hauraki and Liam Hood which will boost the Red Devils.
There will be no place for Kevin Locke who today resigned as a Red Devils player.
Wigan Warriors by 16
Hull Kingston Rovers vs Warrington Wolves
The Sky billing for Friday sees tenth placed Hull KR face off against Warrington Wolves with the Robins needing the two points to put pressure on the club’s above them for a top eight spot.
Chris Chester will be pleased with the ease of which his side pulled apart the Widnes Vikings, recording a resounding 38-16 win at the KC Lightstream Stadium. The performance was marred however by injuries to James Green and Super League’s top point scorer Josh Mantellato.
However Mantellato is named in the 19 strong squad to face Warrington along with Greg Burke and Aaron Ollett in place of James Green and Shaun Lunt.
The Robins received a big blow with the news that Terry Campese will be out for the rest of the campaign after rupturing his ACL so Maurice Blair and Albert Kelly will continue in the halves.
Warrington will arrive in East Yorkshire looking to right the wrongs of their 30-19 defeat against Huddersfield. The loss saw the side drop down to sixth but remain well in the hunt for third spot providing they pick up some results.
Midweek Wolves coach Tony Smith bemoaned the short turnaround between some Super League games having a plethora of players unavailable through injury. Anthony England didn’t help his managers’ cause when he was handed a four game ban for spitting at Giants half-back Danny Brough.
Returning to the side are Ben Westwood, who has serves his suspension, along with Toby King and Joe Philbin. But there are no places for Gareth O’Brien and Ben Currie, who recently signed a new four-year-deal with the club.
Hull Kingston Rovers by 14
Catalans Dragons vs Wakefield Trinity Wildcats
Wakefield Trinity Wildcats will make the trip to the South of France to face a Catalans side who have won all but two of their games on home soil.
The Stade Gilbert Brutus has turned into something of a fortress for the French outfit and overcame Hull FC 20-14 in a bruising encounter last weekend.
The French side still have a number of players out injured and there are also doubt surrounding Zeb Taia who picked up a knock against the Airlie Birds.
Brian Smith and the Wildcats are still looking for that much needed win under their new coach and suffered further misery after Salford picked up all two points with a 24-16 success.
Super League’s bottom club are looking at replacement having lost Lopini Paea and Dean Collis and are in the hunt for Samoan international Michael Sio, who currently plays for the Mackay Cutters. Coach Brian Smith confirmed their interest but the Catalans game will be too soon if an announcement is made.
Smith also ruled out Dan Smith and hooker Stuart Howart and there are concerns surround club captain Danny Kirmond with a troublesome shoulder injury. Reece Lyne and Richie Owen are hoping to be fit for the trip to France meanwhile.
Catalans Dragons by 18
Leeds Rhinos vs Hull FC
Sunday’s Super League fixtures pits Leeds Rhinos against Hull FC in a warm-up for their Challenge Cup Quarter-Finals game at the KC Stadium next week.
Both sides recorded losses in the previous round with Castleford beating Leeds 31-24 and Catalans overcoming the Airlie Birds 20-14.
Leeds Rhinos will be hoping to get out of the blocks faster than in recent weeks and should bring back Joel Moon for the first of back-to-back games with Hull.
Lee Radford will likely bring back full-back Jamie Shaul into the mix and could use his squad to rotate his team ahead of their Challenge Cup game next week. Said rotation may mean Josh Bowden and Dean Hadley are included in the squad having both played on duel registration with Doncaster.
Whilst there should also be a return to Warrington bound Tom Lineham, who missed last week’s defeat due to personal reasons.
Leeds Rhinos by 12
Widnes Vikings vs Huddersfield Giants
Huddersfield will be looking to close in on the top four when they travel to play Widnes Vikings at the Select Security Stadium.
The home side, wounded by being convincingly beaten over in Yorkshire, are likely to name an unchanged team for the clash. Denis Betts is hopeful winger Paddy Flynn, Hep Cahill and Eamon O’Carroll will all get some game time following injuries before Super League splits into the Super 8s.
The Vikings will be looking to halt a two game losing run sooner rather than later to gain a spot in the competitions top eight.
The Giants will be looking to continue their winning ways after their 30-19 win over Warrington Wolves. A win against Widnes would be a fourth away win on the trot for Paul Andersons’ men and could see the club climb up to fourth if results went their way.
England duo Leroy Cudjoe and Brett Ferres both are back in the fold following the all-clear from the medical staff and the pair could be joined by Aaron Murphy.
Huddersfield by 12
Published on June 18 2015 for Rugby AM.