In one of the biggest games in rugby league, Hull KR and Hull FC do battle. Described by Tony Smith as “a different kettle of fish” and branded as bigger than the Saints-Wigan derby by former Saint and current Hull FC winger Adam Swift, it’s sure to be a seismic clash.
Always a big game, perhaps the current situations at both clubs makes it even bigger. Hull KR last week booked their place in the Challenge Cup semi-finals and are a serious play-off candidate as are Hull FC despite their cup heartache last week.
A game which could go a long way to deciding which side makes the top six at the end of the season, it’s must watch rugby.
Tony Smith has made just one change to his 21-man squad with Mikey Lewis’ long term ankle injury forcing him out for over a month. Ethan Ryan has taken his place in the squad after scoring four tries for the reserves last week. There’s still no Albert Vete but Korbin Sims is named in the squad despite picking up an ankle injury in the reserve fixture.
Brett Hodgson hasn’t made any changes to his squad after the defeat in the cup to Huddersfield but after Andre Savelio went off injured in that fixture there is a doubt hanging over his availability. Jordan Lane may return to the side after being dropped against the Giants.
Match Preview – Key Battles:
Lachlan Coote vs Jake Connor: Jake Connor is the fullback who often makes the headlines with superb performances, but only one fullback has won the Super League trophy since Lachlan Coote arrived in Super League and that is Coote himself. The complete fullback and a great leader, he may not be as flashy as Connor, but he can influence a game just as much.
Jordan Abdull vs Luke Gale: Jordan Abdull wrestled away Luke Gale’s England shirt last season replacing Gale in Shaun Wane’s England side by the time the end of the season came around after Gale picked up an injury late in 2021 having played against the Combined Nations. Two scrumhalves of great quality vying for the World Cup squad, both will have something to prove and are capable of organising and creating in this big game.
Matt Parcell vs Danny Houghton: Matt Parcell is one of the in form nines in the league and brings pace and organisation to the Robins attack. Danny Houghton is more of your classic nine and a great leader on the field. With years of Hull derby experience behind him, he could take command over the middle channel.
Where the game will be won and lost:
Hull FC perhaps have the more conventional pack and play style. The Robins meanwhile have one of the most unique and creative attacks in the league thanks to their offloading ability in the middle of the field and the hallmark of Tony Smith sides to play with eyes up. This will result in a unique battle where the focus will be Hull to nullify the Robins’ attack and get on top of them.
Score Prediction: Hull KR 22-20 Hull FC