Two teams feeling good about themselves with very clear and distinguished goals as we near the end of the season meet as we begin Round 25 of 27 in Super League.
Huddersfield have been very clear that they want to pip Wigan to second place and with the Warriors set to play St Helens on Friday, this week represents a very real opening for the Giants to close the gap on the Warriors.
As for Leeds, they need to keep winning to wrap up a spot in the top six. They’ll also be aware that should Catalans’ implosion continue, they could squeeze into the top four ahead of the French side.
Leeds welcome back former Huddersfield man and their skipper Kruise Leeming to the 21-man squad as well as the experienced Tom Briscoe and the previously suspended David Fusitu’a. The Rhinos have lost vital loose-forward Cameron Smith.
Huddersfield, like Leeds, have a big player back from a ban in the shape of Will Pryce who returns to the squad for this week’s huge game – possibly the game of the round. Jack Ashworth, Josh Jones and Ash Golding are still absent. That means that Pryce’s return is the only change to the squad as it goes from a 20-man squad to 21.
Match Preview – Key Battles:
Richie Myler vs Tui Lolohea: Former halfback partners meet in the battle of the fullbacks this week in the first meeting between the two at one all season despite this being the third meeting between Leeds and Huddersfield this season. Thus, it should be a case of saving the best for last given the quality they both bring to their side’s attack. Either could be the difference.
Aidan Sezer vs Theo Fages: Again, despite this being the third meeting between the two sides this year, this game will mark Aidan Sezer’s first game against his former club. After shaking off his injury hit start to life at Headingley, Sezer has begun to shine and will have something to prove but so will the man who replaced him at Huddersfield in the always brilliant Theo Fages.
Jarrod O’Connor vs Luke Yates: These two are very different loose-forwards and it’ll be truly fascinating to see the two come up against each other. Yates will be a real warrior and it’ll be interesting to see him up against Leeds’ preferred style of 13. Usually a role occupied by Cameron Smith, Jarrod O’Connor will likely play minutes at loose-forward this week especially as Leeming returns. Like Smith, O’Connor is very skilled and will look to stretch the Giants.
Where the game will be won and lost:
This will be a real clash of styles. Huddersfield are a very traditional side. They’ll look to win the battle down the middle of the field, pin Leeds in a corner and win the territorial battle and turn that into a victory. However, Leeds don’t play in a conventional way and will happily concede metres knowing that they can express themselves in attack to get up the field. So, it’ll be a case of which style will come out on top on the night.
Score Prediction: Leeds Rhinos 20-22 Huddersfield Giants