Warrington Wolves V Salford Red Devils
Revenge will be on the cards for Salford Red Devils when they travel to the Halliwell Jones Stadium on Thursday night to take on Warrington Wolves.
The Red Devils have been on the end of eight successive defeats to Wire but their most recent loss was a close as you can get with Chris Sandow’s last gasp drop-goal securing the two points in a thrilling 31-30 victory.
The away side have been on the end of some narrow defeats in recent weeks losing to Huddersfield Giants, Leeds Rhinos and Wigan Warriors by a margin of eight, seeing their hopes of clinching a top eight spot an ever increasingly difficult prospect.
Having said that with an appeal process being lodged for the six points they were deducted, they were on the right end of a 22-18 scoreline against Castleford Tigers last time out.
Warrington Wolves meanwhile lost ground on the top two drawing 16-16 away at Hull Kingston Rovers which put an end to their two-game winning run.
The Wolves must have thought they claimed the spoils on offer at the KC Lightstream Stadium when Jack Hughes bundled his way over with six minutes remaining. But Hull KR, who, despite playing over 40 minutes with a man down after James Green was shown a red card, saw Iain Thornley kick through and ground the ball to give his side a share of the two points.
Warrington head coach Tony Smith makes three changes to the side that picked up their first draw of the campaign. Losing their places in the 19 strong unit are Jordan Cox, Benjamin Jullien and Sam Wilde with the trio being replaced by Ryan Atkins, Tom Lineham and Ashton Sims.
The experienced forward Sims returns to the fold having completed his two-match ban as does Atkins, but the club are still without their influential half-back Kurt Gidley who remains on the sidelines.
Salford themselves also make three changes ahead of this clash with Jake Bibby, Phil Joseph and Olsi Krasniqi making way for Mason Caton Brown, Josh Griffin and Ryan Lannon.
Sean Kenny, who recently made the switch from the Wolves to the Red Devils, is in line to feature against his former employers as is Gareth O’Brien.
Warrington Wolves: Ryan Atkins, Ryan Bailey, Daryl Clark, Ben Currie, Brad Dwyer, Rhys Evans, Chris Hill, Jack Hughes, George King, Toby King, Tom Lineham, Declan Patton, Kevin Penny, Stefan Ratchford, Matty Russell, Chris Sandow, Ashton Sims, Joe Westerman, Ben Westwood
Salford Red Devils: Gareth O’Brien, Mason Caton-Brown, Niall Evalds, Josh Griffin, Adam Walne, Rob Lui, Weller Hauraki, Michael Dobson, Mark Flanagan, Logan Tomkins, Craig Kopczak, Ben Murdoch-Masila, George Griffin, Josh Jones, Sean Kenny, Junior Sa’u, Daniel Vidot, Ryan Lannon, Jordan Walne
Published on July 06 2016 for Rugby AM.
Hull FC V Leeds Rhinos
Leeds Rhinos could become the first team this season to do a league double over Hull FC when the two sides meet at the KCOM stadium.
The Rhinos claimed the victory at Headingley in a tense 20-18 match which saw late tries from Jamie Jones-Buchanan and Jordan Lilley claim the two points.
After picking up wins over Salford Red Devils and Wakefield Wildcats, Leeds were pegged back by a Joe Mellor drop-goal in round 20 losing 23-22 to Widnes – with the Vikings hitting back from 22-10 down for the win.
The Black and Whites were also on the losing end last weekend after they were beaten 22-12 away against Huddersfield Giants.
The Giants opened the scoring at the John Smith’s Stadium when Michael Lawrence crossed allowing Jamie Ellis to convert and add a further two with a penalty for an 8-0 half-time score.
Hull FC got the first points of the second-half through Danny Washbrook but Tom Symonds and a brace from Jermaine McGillvary sealed the win for Huddersfield.
Hull FC have been boosted by the returns of three key players for this fixture with the reigning champions. Jamie Shaul, Liam Watts and captain Gareth Ellis all come back having missed their defeat at the hands of Huddersfield. Curtis Naughton, Jansin Turgut and Frank Pritchard are the contingent to miss out.
Brian McDermott has Jordan Lilley and Ash Handley back at his disposal however there is no place for Brett Ferres with the forward being ruled out with a foot injury.
Leeds have included their new signing James Segeyaro in 19-man squad for their battle at the KCOM Stadium. The hooker, who only touched down in the UK recently, signed a deal until the end of the season from Penrith Panthers in a deal which saw Zak Hardaker head the other direction.
The signing has seen the departure of another with Leeds breaking the news that they have reached an agreement with Beau Falloon to release the player from the remainder of his contract.
Hull FC: Jamie Shaul, Mahe Fonua, Carlos Tuimavave, Fetuli Talanoa, Leon Pryce, Marc Sneyd, Scott Taylor, Danny Houghton, Liam Watts, Gareth Ellis, Mark Minichiello, Chris Green, Jordan Thompson, Dean Hadley, Steve Michaels, Sika Manu, Josh Bowden, Kirk Yeamen, Danny Washbrook
Leeds Rhinos: Kallum Watkins, Joel Moon, Ryan Hall, Danny McGuire, Rob Burrow, Keith Galloway, Adam Cuthbertson, Jamie Jones-Buchanan, Carl Ablett, Liam Sutcliffe, Brett Delaney, Brad Singleton, Mitch Garbutt, Jimmy Keinhorst, Mitch Achurch, Anthony Mullally, Ash Handley, Jordan Lilley, James Segeyaro
Prediction: Hull FC by 8
Published on July 07 2016 for Rugby AM.
St. Helens V Widnes Vikings
St Helens will be looking to do the double over Widnes Vikings when they take to the field at Langtree Park on Friday.
The two teams went head-to-head in round eight of Super League with Saints prevailing with a 20-12 win after tries from Joe Greenwood, Louie McCarthy Scarsbrook and Tommy Makinson.
But Widnes will be out to make amends and will be keen to back up their impressive 23-22 triumph over Leeds Rhinos. Despite being 22-10 down at one stage the Vikings fought their way back to draw level and rounded off the win with Joe Mellor kicking a drop-goal.
Saints have all but secured their place in the top eight and a win against their rivals would confirm their spot in the top eight. They come into this game looking to make it three consecutive wins for the first time since February.
They took on Wakefield Wildcats in round 20 and ran in eight tries via Jonny Lomax (2), Greg Richards, Mark Percival, Morgan Knowles, James Roby, Jordan Turner and Matty Flemming.
Saints have made two changes to their squad seeing joint top club try scorer Adam Swift drop out along with Dominique Peyroux. The duo are replaced by Matty Dawson and Luke Walsh with the future surrounding the later uncertain amid speculation linking the club with a move for Kevin Brown.
The Vikings have made two changes and will likely give a debut to new signing Greg Burke who joined the club from Wigan Warriors, penning a two-year deal effective immediately. Connor Farrell is the other player to come into the squad with Chris Bridge and Aaron Heremaia missing out.
St Helens: Jonny Lomax, Jordan Turner, Mark Percival, Luke Walsh, Alex Walmsley, James Roby, Kyle Amor, Atelea Vea, Jon Wilkin, Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook, Greg Richards, Luke Thompson, Joe Greenwood, Matty Dawson, Jack Owens, Shannon McDonnell, Matty Fleming, Jack Ashworth, Morgan Knowles
Widnes Vikings: Pat Ah Van, Kevin Brown, Greg Burke, Jack Buchanan, Hep Cahill, Jay Chapelhow, Chris Dean, Gil Dudson, Connor Farrell, Rhys Hanbury, Chris Houston, Macgraff Leuluai, Manase Manuokafoa, Stefan Marsh, Joe Mellor, Charly Runciman, Corey Thompson, Lloyd White, Matt Whitley
Prediction: St Helens by 10
Published on July 07 2016 for Rugby AM.
Wigan Warriors V Wakefield Wildcats
Wigan Warriors could head to the top of Super League if they overcome Wakefield Wildcats on Friday at the DW Stadium.
The Warriors, despite their lofty perch, haven’t been at their clinical best this season as in previous years but have still gone about grinding out results. However, recently the Warriors have been picked up their performances at the business end of the season and brushed aside Catalans Dragons 26-6 last weekend.
The win was their seventh consecutive after tries from Dan Sarginson, Ryan Sutton, Oliver Gildart and Dom Manfredi.
Wakefield come into this game sitting in 7th-place in the table but suffered defeat last time out going down 44-32 at St Helens on home soil. Jacob Miller scored a hat-trick in vein not for the first time this campaign as the Wildcats conceded eight tries to their six.
There will also be a hint of revenge in the back of the mind of the Wigan players after they suffered a
humiliating 62-0 loss the last time the teams met amid a virus which has swept through the Warriors camp.
Shaun Wane is likely to give debuts to some of his emerging talents having named youngsters Macauley Davies, Kyle Shelford and Jack Higginson in his 19-man squad. The trio replace Greg Burke, who left for pastures new with Widnes Vikings, Joel Tomkins and Lee Mossop – the latter though suspension.
Chris Chester has been forced into making three changes to the squad that lost to Saints last weekend. Tom Johnstone is ruled out through injury having been forced off in round 21 whilst Anthony England is suspended having been handed a two-match ban for a shoulder charge on Jon Wilkin – Scott Anderson is the other player to make way.
Coming into the squad is academy starlet James Batchelor who, after signing a four-year deal back in April, is in contention to make his debut. Craig Hall and Jordan Crowther make up the other two changes.
Wigan Warriors: Joe Bretherton, Josh Charnley, Macauley Davies, Ben Flower, Oliver Gildart, Jack Higginson, Willie Isa, Dom Manfredi, Sean O’Loughlin, Sam Powell, Dan Sarginson, Jake Shorrocks, Matty Smith, Kyle Shelford, Ryan Sutton, Taulima Tautai, Lewis Tierney, Sam Tomkins, George Williams
Wakefield Wildcats: Chris Annakin, Tinirau Arona, Joe Arundel, Matty Ashurst, James Batchelor, Jordan Crowther, David Fifita, Liam Finn, Craig Hall, Ben Jones-Bishop, Max Jowitt, Reece Lyne, Jacob Miller, Jonny Molloy, Scott Moore, Mikey Sio, Bill Tupou, Anthony Walker, Jason Walton
Prediction: Wigan Warriors by 18
Published on July 07 2016 for Rugby AM.