Warrington Wolves vs Wigan Warriors


Round thirteen of Super League opens with a mouth-watering clash as Warrington Wolves and Wigan Warriors go head-to-head at the Halliwell Jones Stadium.

The two teams are locked at the top of the table separated only on points difference with both sides picking up nine wins and three losses from their twelve fixtures this campaign.

Should the league leaders Warrington claim the two points it would cap off a good week for the club off the field after the contracts extensions of Kurt Gidley along with head coach Tony Smith and chief executive Roger Draper.

Last time out Wire completed a league double over Widnes Vikings with a resounding 48-16 victory. Kevin Penny, Joe Westerman and Stefan Ratchford all scored two tries apiece along with scores from Kurt Gidley and Ben Westwood ensured the Wolves returned to the top of the table.

Wigan backed up their win over Castleford Tigers with a 26-19 triumph over Huddersfield Giants at the DW Stadium. Anthony Gelling, John Bateman, Matty Smith and Dan Sarginson all crossed for tries with Ryan Brierley’s hat-trick in vain for the opposition.

The Wolves make one change to their squad that beat the Vikings last weekend with Joe Philbin replacing Jack Johnson who misses out with a broken wrist. Tom Lineham is likely to be in line for a recall after bagging a brace against Toulouse for partner club Rochdale Hornets.

Wigan welcome back half-back George Williams who looks set to feature for the first time since March against Hull FC. Williams, along with Jack Wells, who was a late call-up last time out retains his place, with Dom Crosby and Joel Tomkins missing out.

Warrington Wolves: Ryan Atkins, Daryl Clark, Jordan Cox, Ben Currie, Rhys Evans, Kurt Gidley, Chris Hill, Jack Hughes, Benjamin Jullien, George King, Tom Lineham, Kevin Penny, Joe Philbin, Stefan Ratchford, Matty Russell, Ashton Sims, Joe Westerman, Ben Westwood, Sam Wilde

Wigan Warriors: John Bateman, Greg Burke, Josh Charnley, Tony Clubb, Ben Flower, Oliver Gildart, Anthony Gelling, Nick Gregson, Jack Higginson, Willie Isa, Lee Mossop, Sam Powell, Dan Sarginson, Matty Smith, Ryan Sutton, Taulima Tautai, Lewis Tierney, Jack Wells, George Williams

Prediction: Warrington Wolves by 8

Published on April 28 2016 for Rugby AM.

Hull FC vs Catalans Dragons


Catalans Dragons head to the KCOM stadium to take on Hull FC hoping to make it eight wins on the trot but are without three key players.

The Dragons have risen up the league ladder in recent months and find themselves joint top of the competition after picking up nine wins from their twelve fixtures but head to East Yorkshire without Krisnan Inu, Todd Carney and Dave Taylor.

Inu, who has two tries and five assists to his name, suffered a season-ending knee injury during their victory over Salford Red Devils last Saturday whilst half-back Todd Carney is also out.

The towering figure of Dave Taylor will be absent as well, despite initially being named in the 19-man squad, he subsequently failed a fitness test on a calf injury and has been replaced by reserve team forward Thibaut Margalet. The club bring in Eloi Pelissier from suspension along with Antoni Maria in three changes by Laurent Frayssinous.

Hull FC have built this game up to be one of their biggest games of the season if they are to contend at the right end of the table and come into the clash in good form winning six of their last seven games.

A potentially tricky away visit to Belle Vue to take on an in-form Wakefield Wildcats side was negotiated with relative ease as the Black and Whites picked up a 46-28 win with Fetuli Talanoa scoring four tries.

Hull will be without the services of captain Gareth Ellis who picked up a one-game suspension following a high tackle in the last round. Josh Bowden, who was a late call up in their win at Wakefield, retains his place with Dean Hadley not selected.

Steve Michaels also comes into the 19-man squad having lost his place in the side with Curtis Naughton and Talanoa preferred in the wings.

Hull FC: Josh Bowden, Mahe Fonua, Chris Green, Danny Houghton, Sika Manu, Steve Michaels, Mark Minichiello, Feka Paleaaesina, Frank Pritchard, Leon Pryce, Jamie Shaul, Marc Sneyd, Fetuli Talanoa, Scott Taylor, Jordan Thompson, Danny Washbrook, Liam Watts, Kirk Yeaman

Catalans Dragons: Tony Gigot, Jodie Broughton, Vincent Duport, Pat Richards, Richie Myler, Louis Anderson, Remi Casty, Glenn Stewart, Justin Horo, Jason Baitieri, Julian Bousquet, Eloi Pelissier, Greg Mounis, Thomas Bosc, Morgan Escare, Antoni Maria, Alrix Da Costa, Willie Mason, Thibaut Margalet

Prediction: Hull FC by 6

Published on April 29 2016 for Rugby AM.

Huddersfield Giants vs Leeds Rhinos


Leeds Rhinos forward Brett Ferres makes his return to the John Smith’s Stadium to take on Huddersfield Giants in what has been described by the England international as a “must win” fixture.

The 30-year-old is likely to make his return for the Rhinos following a spell on the sidelines which has seen him miss the last five games with a calf muscle tear.

Not many could have predicted these two teams would have been competing at the wrong end of the table especially given their exploits last campaign. Leeds climbed up to 10th by virtue of Salford Red Devils being deducted six points for salary cap breaches, whilst the Giants remain at the bottom.

Last round the Giants showed signs of improvement against Wigan Warriors but ultimately fell short losing 26-19 at the DW Stadium with Ryan Brierley’s hat-trick in vain for the travelling side.

For Leeds their patchy form continued with the team unable to back up their win over Hull FC falling to a narrow 38-34 loss at Langtree Park against St Helens in a thrilling encounter.

Paul Anderson confirmed during his mid-week press conference that Craig Huby will be out for 12 weeks with a torn pectoral muscle which will come as a big blow to the club. He, along with Kruise Leeming, drop out of the side with both Eorl Crabtree and Jake Wardle coming into the 19-man squad.

Brian McDermott provisionally named Zak Hardaker, Danny McGuire and Brett Delaney in his 19-man squad but on Thursday confirmed the trio will miss the trip to Huddersfield after failing fitness tests opting to bring in Luke Briscoe and Cameron Smith into the squad.

Huddersfield Giants: Jermaine McGillvary, Leroy Cudjoe, Joe Wardle, Aaron Murphy, Danny Brough, Eorl Crabtree, Ryan Hinchliffe, Michael Lawrence, Kyle Wood, Sam Rapira, Ukuma Ta’ai, Jake Connor, Josh Johnson, Nathan Mason, Oliver Roberts, Tyler Dickinson, Jake Wardle, Ryan Brierley, Gene Ormsby

Leeds Rhinos: Zak Hardaker, Kallum Watkins, Danny McGuire, Rob Burrow, Keith Galloway, Jamie Jones-Buchanan, Liam Sutcliffe, Brett Delaney, Brad Singleton, Mitch Garbutt, Jimmy Keinhorst, Mitch Achurch, Anthony Mullally, Josh Walters, Ash Handley, Ashton Golding, Jordan Baldwinson, Jordan Lilley, Brett Ferres

Prediction: Huddersfield Giants by 10

Published on April 29 2016 for Rugby AM.

Widnes Vikings vs Wakefield Wildcats


Wakefield Wildcats will be hoping to bounce back from their home defeat to Hull FC when they take on Widnes Vikings at the Select Security Stadium.

The in-form Wildcats suffered their first defeat in six games last Sunday losing 46-28 against a Black and White side who themselves are riding high on confidence.

Chris Chester’s men face off against Widnes Vikings who have struggled to replicate their early season form which had seen them rise to the top of the table after winning six of their opening seven fixtures.

Denis Betts, who this week has been appointed assistant England coach, will know he needs to address their form which has seen them lose the last five games on the trot. The club need a response after losing 48-16 to Warrington after a disastrous first-half did the damage heading into the break 30-6 down which they never recovered from.

Widnes have made two changes as they look to get back to winning ways with Patrick Ah Van and Jordan Johnstone coming into the squad in place of half-back Kevin Brown and centre Chris Bridge.

Chris Chester has also opted to make two changes with Stuart Howarth and Richie Owen replacing the injured Jonny Molloy and Reece Lyne.

Widnes Vikings: Patrick Ah Van, Hep Cahill, Ed Chamberlain, Chris Dean, Gil Dudson, Rhys Hanbury, Aaron Heremaia, Chris Houston, Jordan Johnstone, Macgraff Leuluai, Manase Manuokafoa, Stefan Marsh, Joe Mellor, Eamon O’Carroll, Charly Runciaman, Setaimata Sa, Corey Thompson, Lloyd White, Matt Whitley

Wakefield Wildcats: Chris Annakin, Tinirau Arona, Matty Ashurst, Anthony England, Liam Finn, Ashley Gibson, Craig Hall, Stuart Howarth, Tom Johnstone, Ben Jones-Bishop, Max Jowitt, Danny Kirmond, Jacob Miller, Scott Moore, Richard Owen, Nick Scruton, Mickael Simon, Mikey Sio, Anthony Tupou

Prediction: Wakefield Wildcats by 10

Published on April 29 2016 for Rugby AM.

Salford Red Devils vs Hull Kingston Rovers


Salford Red Devils will be hoping to claw back the points they were docked for salary cap breaches when they host Hull Kingston Rovers.

The Red Devils plunged to 11th place in the league after being found guilty by an independent tribunal for breaches between 2014 and 2015 with the owner Marwan Koukash saying he would “go for all-out war” when the club were charged last month.

On the pitch various players have come out saying they will use the points deduction as motivation for the rest of the season and come into the match with Hull KR on the back of a 42-32 loss to Catalans Dragons at the Stade Gilbert Brutus.

Head coach Ian Watson described the verdict as a body blow and added further importance to the fixture today but the club were boosted by the return of club captain Tommy Lee to the 19-man squad. Having missed the last five games with an injury picked up in the Good Friday win over Catalans Dragons Lee makes his return to the side in place of Josh Wood.

The Robins will be wary of a Red Devil backlash and know they must replicate the performance in the last round which saw them crush Castleford Tigers 58-16 at the Mend-a-Hose Jungle. Thomas Minns scored a hat-trick in the 11-try rout with Albert Kelly, Graeme Horne, Iain Thornley (2), Mitch Allgood and Ken Sio also touching down.

James Webster has named an unchanged 19-man side from the one that won last round with Josh Mantellato, Terry Campese, Kevin Larroyer and Liam Salter all targeting a return in a month’s time.

Salford Red Devils: Justin Carney, Michael Dobson, Niall Evalds, Mark Flanagan, George Griffin, Josh Griffin, Weller Hauraki, Josh Jones, Craig Kopczak, Olsi Krasniqi, Ryan Lannon, Tommy Lee, Rob Lui, Gareth O’Brien, Ben Murdoch-Masila, Junior Sa’u, Logan Tomkins, Adam Walne, Jordan Walne

Hull Kingston Rovers: Mitch Allgood, Maurice Blair, John Boudebza, Chris Clarkson, Ben Cockayne, James Donaldson, James Green, Graeme Horne, Albert Kelly, George Lawler, Shaun Lunt, Matty Marsh, Thomas Minns, Robbie Mulhern, Ken Sio, Iain Thornley, Dane Tilse, Adam Walker, Joe Wardill

Prediction: Hull Kingston Rovers by 8

Castleford Tigers vs St Helens


Daryl Powell will be expecting a much-improved performance from his Castleford Tigers side when they entertain St Helens today.

The Tigers suffered a heavy 58-16 home defeat to Hull Kingston Rovers as the Robins bounced back from their Challenge Cup exit in style. Thomas Minns scored a hat-trick in the 11-try rout with Albert Kelly, Graeme Horne, Iain Thornley (2), Mitch Allgood and Ken Sio also touching down.

The defeat, their second is succession, saw the Tigers drop to 8th but come up against a St Helens side whose performances have been improving steadily the past few weeks.

Last round saw the Saints claim two points over Leeds Rhinos in a thrilling 38-34 victory with Jonny Lomax grabbing a brace on his return to the side from a lengthy injury layoff. Joe Greenwood along with Theo Fages also scored two with Kyle Amor grabbing a try.

Daryl Powell brings back Ben Crooks, Will Maher and Conor Fitzsimmons to the squad for the Tigers with Ryan Boyle, Greg Minikin and recent signing Larne Patrick missing out. Danny Tickle, who recently signed a deal to the end of the season, will have to wait for his Cas debut.

St Helens head coach Keiron Cunningham makes two changes with Dominque Peyroux and Jordan Turner in place of Andre Savelio and Calvin Wellington.

Castleford Tigers: Matt Cook, Ben Crooks, Conor Fitzsimmons, Luke Gale, Ryan Hampshire, Jy Hitchcox, Lee Jewitt, Andy Lynch, Will Maher, Nathan Massey, Mike McMeeken, Paul McShane, Grant Millington, Adam Milner, Junior Moors, Joel Monaghan, Gadwin Springer, Denny Solomona, Jake Webster

St Helens: Jonny Lomax, Jordan Turner, Mark Percival, Luke Walsh, Alex Walmsley, James Roby, Kyle Amor, Atelea Vea, Jon Wilkin, Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook, Lama Tasi, Greg Richards, Dominque Peyroux, Theo Fages, Joe Greenwood, Matty Dawson, Jack Owens, Shannon McDonnell, Morgan Knowles

Prediction: St Helens by 8

Published on May 1 2016 for Rugby AM.

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