Round 13’s Betfred Super League fixture sees Widnes Vikings take on Hull FC in a clash of teams with contrasting fortunes at present.
The Airlie Birds find themselves flying high in the top four following an impressive 34-10 victory over Warrington time last out. After a tough Easter period, Coach Lee Radford has galvanised the squad with a series of impressive results. A level of consistency has been found and the team have built upon it.
Widnes on the other hand, have had an arduous campaign so far, relying on minimal resources paralleled with a big injury list. Ever since losing Kevin Brown in January, Denis Betts’ side have seemed destined to struggle. A surprise 16-14 victory over St Helens at the Select Security Stadium was followed up by a 30-10 reverse to Salford last week.
It’s hard to look much further than an away win for this game. FC possess the stronger team physically and in terms of quality. For all their endeavour in 2017, Widnes lack depth and this is partially down to a lack of recruitment. Hull in contrast depict a team on the rise and are gradually welcoming back key players. They’ll have too much power and panache for the Vikings, even on a synthetic pitch.
Ex-FC favourite Aaron Heremaia faces a late fitness test ahead of Sunday’s game. Young half-back Danny Craven, Lloyd White and Ted Chapelhow miss out but key pivots Joe Mellor and Rhys Hanbury are included as the Vikings look to cause an upset.
The Black and Whites welcome back a key figure in Danny Houghton after an extended lay-off with a calf injury. Liam Watts is back in the fold after completing his suspension along with Josh Bowden after an ankle injury but Sika Manu drops out as he begins a two-game ban. Gareth Ellis remains on the sidelines with a sternum injury and the game comes too soon for Fetuli Talanoa. Scott Taylor is also missing as he is on international duty. However, Brad Fash, Jack Downs and Jansin Turgut keep their places after impressing in recent weeks with the addition of Masi Matongo.
Widnes Squad: Patrick Ah Van, Chris Bridge, Jack Buchanan, Hep Cahill, Jay Chapelhow, Chris Dean, Gil Dudson, Alex Gerrard, Tom Gilmore, Rhys Hanbury, Aaron Heremaia, Chris Houston, Ryan Ince, Stefan Marsh, Joe Mellor, Eamon O’Carroll, Charly Runciman, Danny Walker, Matt Whitley.
Hull Squad: Jamie Shaul, Mahe Fonua, Carlos Tuimavave, Josh Griffin, Albert Kelly, Marc Sneyd, Danny Houghton, Liam Watts, Mark Minichiello, Jake Connor, Chris Green, Jordan Thompson, Danny Washbrook, Steve Michaels, Josh Bowden, Jansin Turgut, Jack Downs, Brad Fash, Masi Matongo.
Prediction: Hull by 18