Huddersfield Giants V Hull FC
Hull FC could extend their lead at the top of Super League to four points and heap pressure on the chasing pack when they travel to the John Smith’s Stadium on Thursday night to take on Huddersfield Giants.
The Black and Whites have been the in-form team in the competition for the past two months after registering ten wins on the trot in league and cup action.
Such performances have seen the club rise to the top with many now seeing them as genuine contenders for silverware this campaign.
Progression to the Semi-Finals of the Challenge Cup was ensured with a deserved 22-8 victory over Catalans Dragons last time out – leaving the club just 80 minutes away from a potential trip to Wembley.
The French side did take the lead when Benjamin Garcia, who only recently re-joined the club from Penrith Panthers, touched down after 14 minutes. Hull hit back with tries from Steve Michaels and Frank Pritchard with Danny Houghton crossing to extend their grip on the game in the second-half.
Fouad Yaha reduced the deficit but it was the Black and Whites who progressed to face Wigan Warriors in the next round.
Huddersfield will look at their opponents’ season with envy having endured a nightmarish season so far. Their 10-2 loss against Wakefield Wildcats saw head coach Paul Anderson pay the price for a string of poor results.
His departure from the club brought about an immediate response in the shape of a 31-30 away win over Salford Red Devils, however the club returned to losing ways being dumped out of the cup on home soil 28-16 against Wakefield Wildcats.
In three changes made by their acting head coach Andy Kelly, Huddersfield being back Kruise Leeming, Darnell McIntosh and Sam Wood in place of the injured Scott Grix and Joe Wardle.
The Giants are also without influential half-back Danny Brough who has been banned for one game after submitting an early guilty plea to a Grade B high tackle charge on Reece Lyne during their Challenge Cup defeat.
The Black and Whites have also made three changes and are without a trio of important players for the team, captain Gareth Ellis, Liam Watts and Jamie Shaul are unavailable with Dean Hadley, Curtis Naughton and Jansin Turgut coming into the 19-man squad.
Huddersfield Giants: Jermaine McGillvary, Leroy Cudjoe, Aaron Murphy, Jamie Ellis, Eorl Crabtree, Ryan Hinchcliffe, Tom Symonds, Michael Lawrence, Kyle Wood, Sam Rapira, Ukuma Ta’ai, Jake Connor, Josh Johnson, Kruise Leeming, Nathan Mason, Oliver Roberts, Darnell McIntosh, Sam Wood, Ryan Brierley
Hull FC: Mahe Fonua, Carlos Tuimavave, Fetuli Talanoa, Leon Pryce, Marc Sneyd, Scott Taylor, Danny Houghton, Mark Minichiello, Chris Green, Jordan Thompson, Dean Hadley, Steve Michaels, Curtis Naughton, Sika Manu, Josh Bowden, Frank Pritchard, Kirk Yeaman, Jansin Turgut, Danny Washbrook
Prediction: Hull FC by 14
Published on June 29 2016 for Rugby AM.
Hull KR V Warrington Wolves
Warrington Wolves could climb above Wigan Warriors into second-place if they beat Hull Kingston Rovers on Friday night at the KC Lightstream Stadium.
The Wolves will be aiming to close the gap on Hull FC at the top of the table and two points would see them leapfrog Wigan on points difference pending the outcome of their game against Catalans Dragons on Saturday.
Wire head to East Yorkshire having beaten the Dragons 20-18 last time out in Super League and also ensured they advanced in the Challenge Cup last four beating Widnes Vikings by an identical scoreline. Kurt Gidley was again the hero for Wire after his 73rd minute penalty was the difference between the two teams with his goal also being the difference the previous week as well.
Hull Kingston Rovers must have thought they had turned a corner in their season having thumped Wakefield Wildcats 54-16 before putting in a valiant display in defeat against Wigan Warriors.
The Robins then took on St Helens and found themselves 12-0 up after tries from Shaun Lunt and Chris Clarkson but the side collapsed to a 48-16 loss with Adam Swift scoring four times.
James Webster has been boosted by the return of Ken SIo who was given permission to return to Australia for the birth of his twins. Along with the back, Ben Cockayne is also expected to play a part in the fixture after recovering from a knee injury.
French international duo Kevin Larroyer and John Boudebza return to the fold with Matty Marsh, Kieron Dixon and James Greenwood losing their spots in the 19-man side.
Warrington will be without Kurt Gidley who missing the trip to Rovers with a minor hamstring injury in two changes for the club. Elsewhere centre Ryan Atkins also misses out though suspension picking up a one-match ban in their match against Widnes. Declan Patton and Toby King are the men tasked with replacing the duo in the 19-man squad.
Hull Kingston Rovers: Mitch Allgood, Maurice Blair, John Boudebza, Chris Clarkson, Ben Cockayne, James Donaldson, James Green, Graeme Horne, Albert Kelly, Kevin Larroyer, George Lawler, Shaun Lunt, Thomas Minns, Robbie Mulhern, Ken Sio, Iain Thornley, Dane Tilse, Adam Walker, Joe Wardill
Warrington Wolves: Ryan Bailey, Daryl Clark, Jordan Cox, Ben Currie, Brad Dwyer, Rhys Evans, Chris Hill, Jack Hughes, Benjamin Jullien, George King, Toby King, Declan Patton, Kevin Penny, Stefan Ratchford, Matty Russell, Chris Sandow, Joe Westerman, Ben Westwood, Sam Wilde
Prediction: Warrington Wolves by 14
Published on June 30 2016 for Rugby AM.
Salford Red Devils V Castleford Tigers
Salford Red Devils host Castleford Tigers on Friday night at the AJ Bell Stadium with neither club in good form heading into the final month of Super League before the divide.
Red Devils have succumbed to three straight defeats in Super League losing to Wigan Warriors, Leeds Rhinos and more recently the agonising 31-30 home defeat to Huddersfield Giants.
Their opponents haven’t had the best of weeks either, losing to Widnes Vikings and Hull FC in the league before being dumped out of the Challenge Cup at the hands of Wigan Warriors.
The Tigers were outclassed on a day when Wigan fully deserved their plaudits and progression into the Challenge Cup Semi-Final stage. The damage was well and truly done in the first-half with
Wigan going into the break 22-0 up after scores from Dan Sarginson, Sam Tomkins and two from Josh Charnley.The second-half did see Luke Gale and Ben Crooks cross either side of a controversial try from Dom Manfredi but Wigan claimed the victory.
Salford could climb above Hull Kingston Rovers who also play the same day but face a much tougher test against Warrington Wolves. Whereas Cas could go above their close neighbours Wakefield Wildcats into 6th momentarily.
Salford are without Justin Carney, but have Sean Kenny who recently joined the club from Warrington Wolves. The 21-year-old hooker has been earning rave reviews since coming through the Under-19s system and is deemed to be an exciting talent.
Darryl Powel will be without leading try-scorer Denny Solomona with the winger, who has crossed the whitewash 24 times this season awaiting the results of a scan. Lee Jewitt is also another absentee in the side with Tom Holmes and Paddy Flynn returning to the fray.
Salford Red Devils: Jake Bibby, Niall Evalds, Mark Flanagan, George Griffin, Weller Hauraki, Josh Jones, Phil Joseph, Sean Kenny, Craig Kopczak, Olsi Krasniqi, Rob Lui, Ben Murdoch-Masila, Gareth O’Brien, Junior Sa’u, Logan Tomkins, Daniel Vidot, Jordan Walne, Adam Walne.
Castleford Tigers: Matt Cook, Ben Crooks, Luke Dorn, Paddy Flynn, Luke Gale, Oliver Holmes, Tom Holmes, Nathan Massey, Mike McMeeken, Paul McShane, Grant Millington, Adam Milner, Greg Minikin, Junior Moors, Joel Monaghan, Larne Patrick, Gadwin Springer, Danny Tickle, Jake Webster.
Prediction: Salford Red Devils by 12
Published on June 30 2016 for Rugby AM.