Catalans Dragons vs Leeds Rhinos: Team news, match preview and score prediction

Though Castleford vs Salford just a few hours before this is probably the biggest game of the round, Catalans vs Leeds won’t be far behind.

Catalans could very well wrap up fourth place with a win which would be vital to their Old Trafford hopes given their historic home form but even that’s been shaky recently largely down to the psychological blow Leeds struck on their last visit their when they shocked the Dragons by coming back from 30-6 down to win 36-32 in golden point despite having a man sent off.

Can Leeds replicate that magic and wrap up a place in the top six with one of Salford and Castleford set to drop points meaning a win for the Rhinos would sew up their play-off spot and give them a real chance at stealing fourth from Catalans going into the last game.

Team News:

Sam Tomkins has avoided a ban despite a shoulder charge in the French derby but his place in the side isn’t guaranteed with the fullback still struggling with a leg injury. Michael McIlorum is back from a ban however.

Leeds meanwhile have lost Aidan Sezer to a one-match ban whilst Blake Austin avoids one for a similar yellow card to his halfback partner. David Fusitu’a will miss the game through a calf problem whilst Cameron Smith isn’t ready to return. There are doubts over both Liam Sutcliffe and Morgan Gannon with both leaving the field against Huddersfield.

Match Preview – Key Battles:

Sam Tomkins vs Richie Myler: Assuming Sam Tomkins plays, this will be an interesting battle between two top experienced fullbacks who are so creative due to experience as halfbacks. The duo will be threats themselves but will also create chances for their teammates.

Michael McIlorum vs Kruise Leeming: Two men vying for the England number nine shirt will make respective returns on Monday. McIlorum returns from a ban and Leeming will likely return to the starting 13 after making his comeback from injury on the bench on Wednesday. A real clash of styles but also a pair of real leaders, this could be a defining battlefield in this game.

Where the game will be won and lost:

Leeds have a smart formula against physical teams willing to concede metres backing their expressive attacking to take them down field but doing so here on the back of two short turnarounds may require too much energy which could give the advantage to Catalans here.

Score Prediction: Catalans Dragons 22-16 Leeds Rhinos

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