After picking up just one win this season, the pressure is on Leeds in Rivals Round as they look to turn their season around against West Yorkshire rivals Huddersfield Giants tomorrow.
Huddersfield have started the season brilliantly and even have a Challenge Cup semi-final to look forward to after defeating Hull FC last week. Having only lost twice this season, they go into this game as favourites.
As for Leeds, with the Head Coach situation still shrouded in mystery it’s up to Rhinos legend Jamie Jones-Buchanan to bring the best out of his side at this time and pick up a second win of the season.
Aidan Sezer will not be able to take on his former club as he again misses out through a groin injury. He joins the likes of Harry Newman, David Fuistu’a and Richie Myler in the treatment room. The Rhinos do have Alex Mellor back from illness as well as Bodene Thompson who missed the defeat to St Helens due to personal reasons. Brad Dwyer and Zane Tetevano are also back from suspension.
Huddersfield could have Jermaine McGillvary back after he missed the win over Hull FC due to a hamstring injury. He’s touch and go for this clash but the Giants will have Olly Russell back after concussion protocols saw him miss last week’s game. There will be no Sebastine Ikahihifo who has a fracture in his arm.
Match Preview – Key Battles:
Kruise Leeming vs Danny Levi: Kruise Leeming was named the best nine in the league last season when he was included in the Dream Team. Now Rhinos skipper, he’ll hope to lead by example against his former club but will be against arguably the in form hooker of Super League in livewire Danny Levi. There could be some fireworks as they both look to take command of the middle channel.
Mikolaj Oledzki vs Chris Hill: Youth vs experience here as England international Mikolaj Oledzki does battle with Chris Hill who many have called upon to return to the international set up. Another of Huddersfield’s in form players, Hill will look to nullify the threat of Oledzki down the middle.
James Bentley vs Josh Jones: James Bentley has had a difficult start to his Leeds career but has started showing glimpses of why he was signed bringing energy and tenacity to the Leeds pack in their last two games. Down his right edge he’ll be up against Josh Jones who was superb against Hull FC despite picking up a knock in the first half.
Where the game will be won and lost:
Leeds’ pack is their strongest area at the moment especially with the injuries they have in their backs. They haven’t had any difficulties making metres this season but they need to start turning these metres into points. The trouble Leeds will face is the fact that the Huddersfield pack has consistently contained some of the league’s best forwards and even overpowered the likes of Catalans which means Leeds could struggle to get a foothold in the game down the middle.
Score Prediction: Leeds Rhinos 6-20 Huddersfield Giants