Two teams who go into the seventh round of Super League inside the top four battle at the John Smith’s Stadium tomorrow night.
Huddersfield have won four of their opening six league fixtures and progressed to the Challenge Cup quarter-finals with a win over Barrow Raiders last weekend and will be full of confidence after a strong start to the season.
Likewise, Catalans will be feeling strong as they journey to West Yorkshire. The Dragons haven’t lost since Round One and have a blockbuster Challenge Cup quarter-final to look forward to against St Helens. Emerging as the major threat again to Saints, they could help cement that line of thought with a win here.
The Dragons have lost Benjamin Jullien to concussion protocols after their Challenge Cup win over Featherstone. He joins Dean Whare, Michael McIlorum, Julian Bousquet and Arthur Mourgue in the treatment room as they all miss the game through injury. Mitchell Pearce and Jordan Dezaria are both suspended.
As for Huddersfield, they are boosted by the return of Josh Jones and Theo Fages to their 21-man squad. Chris Hill and Chris McQueen are also back after being rested for the cup last week whilst Jack Cogger is also included in the squad for the first time in weeks. Meanwhile, Tui Lolohea is included after pulling out of the win at Barrow last week at the last minute due to a fitness concern. There is still no Will Pryce due to suspension.
Match Preview – Key Battles:
Olly Russell vs Josh Drinkwater: Two of the best but most underrated halfbacks in the league collide tomorrow. Olly Russell has been central to Huddersfield’s early season success tying everything together for the Giants. As for Drinkwater, he’s never short of a try assist and has the most devastating short kicking game in the competition.
Luke Yates vs Ben Garcia: Two of the underrated 13s in the league, both lead by example and are vital to their side’s success especially down the middle of the field. Also dynamic and dangerous with ball in hand, this battle will be more than eye catching.
Where the game will be won and lost:
Most may assume that Catalans have the superior pack and it is a fact that the Dragons have some of the best forwards in the league. However, no side has made more metres in Super League than Huddersfield in 2022 with Chris Hill and Luke Yates performing impressively. So, both sides may cancel each other out down the middle so this contest could be decided by those moments of brilliance from key players meaning the Giants may miss the likes of Will Pryce in this one.
Score Prediction: Huddersfield Giants 16-26 Catalans Dragons