Hull FC v Leeds Rhinos: Preview

Castleford Hull combined team

Round 9 of the Betfred Super League sees Hull FC take on Leeds Rhinos at the KCOM in what promises to be a competitive game. The Black and Whites were left reeling after a 54-18 thrashing from Salford Red Devils last time out, while the resurgent Rhinos were halted by Warrington Wolves, who defeated Brian McDermott’s side 25-14. Both teams are expected to show a reaction after their respective defeats so we can expect a physical contest.

Coach Lee Radford welcomes back a quartet of key first-team regulars as Albert Kelly, Carlos Tuimavave, Gareth Ellis and Scott Taylor are all expected to feature. The game comes too soon for Danny Houghton who remains on the sidelines with a calf injury, while Chris Green drops out of the squad with a recurring back issue. Brad Fash and Jansin Turgut keep their places from last week’s side but hooker Jez Litten misses out.

Stevie Ward is back for Leeds after missing the last six games with injury problems and Keith Galloway could make his first appearance of 2017 after an Achilles injury suffered at the end of last season. Carl Ablett and Jimmy Keinhorst drop out from last week’s squad with long-term knee and hand injuries respectively. Youngsters Mikolaj Oledzki, Jordan Baldwinson and Jordan Lilley are included too after playing in the Championship last weekend.

We can expect a close encounter between two sides who have shown impressive displays of rugby in spells this season. The Rhinos possess a strong selection of backs and FC’s edge defence will have to be much better than last week. That said, I believe the Airlie Birds have some key cogs returning in the form of Kelly, Ellis and Taylor which could be the deciding factor.

Hull FC squad: Jamie Shaul, Mahe Fonua, Carlos Tuimavave, Josh Griffin, Fetuli Talanoa, Albert Kelly, Marc Sneyd, Scott Taylor, Liam Watts, Mark Minichiello, Gareth Ellis (c), Jake Connor, Jordan Thompson, Danny Washbrook, Steve Michaels, Sika Manu, Josh Bowden, Jansin Turgut, Brad Fash.

Leeds Rhinos squad: Ashton Golding, Tom Briscoe, Kallum Watkins, Joel Moon, Ryan Hall, Danny McGuire (c), Rob Burrow, Keith Galloway, Matt Parcell, Adam Cuthbertson, Jamie Jones-Buchanan, Stevie Ward, Liam Sutcliffe, Brett Delaney, Mitch Garbutt, Anthony Mullally, Jordan Baldwinson, Jordan Lilley, Mikolaj Oledzki.

Prediction: Hull by 8