Hull FC vs Leeds Rhinos: Team news, match preview and score prediction

Two of the biggest clubs in our sport both appear to be a little wayward at the moment making this clash between them all the more important.

Hull FC’s spine has unravelled in recent weeks with the club releasing Josh Reynolds and losing Jake Connor to injury which has dented their play-off hopes.

Meanwhile, Leeds’ play-offs hopes are all but dead after a thumping defeat to St Helens last week which outlined the work Rohan Smith will need to do to get Leeds back to the top starting with a visit to the MKM stadium – a win is a must to keep their season alive.

Team News

Adam Swift, former Leeds skipper Luke Gale and Manu Ma’u all drop out of Hull’s squad through injury joined by Mitieli Vulikijapani through suspension. Jordan Johnstone is at least able to return to the squad and is joined by many youngsters including Matty Laidlaw who features in the squad for the first time.

Leeds of course lost both Zane Tetevano and Harry Newman to long term suspension last week alongside Bodene Thompson. Jack Walker is back however as is Morgan Gannon. Jack Sinfield is also named in the 21. Brad Dwyer, Cameron and Liam Sutcliffe could return to the side after missing out last week. Ash Handley is a minor doubt on the wing.

Match Preview – Key Battles:

Joe Lovodua vs Blake Austin: With no senior halfbacks available, it will likely be Joe Lovodua at six for Hull FC and his explosivity could cause Leeds plenty of problems especially with the Black and Whites adopt a similar tactical approach to the one they deployed at Headingley. It’ll be interesting to see him come up against another running halfback in Blake Austin who will also look to use his kicking game to test the Black and Whites.

Chris Satae vs Mikolaj Oledzki: On his 100th appearance, Mikolaj Oledzki will take on a big test in the shape of Chris Satae. One of the best props in the league, Satae will look to dominate the Leeds middles as he did at Headingley. However, should Oledzki bring his A game he could nulify Satae’s threat. Either way it’s sure to be fiery.

Where the game will be won and lost:

When Hull FC rocked up to Headingley earlier this season, they were ravaged by injury especially in the spine. Brett Hodgson subsequently picked a strange top heavy team with extra props and backrowers in the side. This allowed them to dominate Leeds down the middle and boss the game from start to finish. A similar scenario will give him the chance to do the same again so Rohan Smith’s new attacking style of play may be Leeds’ only way to get forward and cause problems. With more first teamers available, you’d have to back the Rhinos here but their disappointing defeat at St Helens last week could see them miss the mark again here.

Score Prediction: Hull FC 20-22 Leeds Rhinos

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