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Leeds Rhinos vs Wigan Warriors: Preview

Liam Farrell banned

Leeds welcome Wigan to the Headingley Carnegie Stadium, with the sides in very different form at the moment.

The Rhinos are unbeaten in their last three, with convincing victories coming against Catalans, Wakefield and, most recently, Huddersfield. They came away from the John Smith’s Stadium with a 28-12 win, led primarily by hooker Matt Parcell, who is in sensational form. The 24-year-old’s running game has set a great platform for the likes of Danny McGuire and makeshift half Joel Moon to create chances, while he hasn’t shied away from the scoresheet himself, racking up a try in each of their last three games. The Rhinos are looking like they’re back to their best, and are a dangerous side for any team to come up against at the minute.

Wigan, on the other hand, are without a win in consecutive games, after going unbeaten in their first four. They managed to scrape a point with a late penalty goal against Huddersfield two weeks ago, before going down 22-20 to Hull last week, despite a spirited second half fight back. There’s no doubt that injuries are having an effect on their performances, but the introduction of a number of young players is a silver lining to the situation. The likes of Liam Marshall, Liam Forsyth and Tom Davies have all impressed since being promoted by Shaun Wane, while George Williams has really stepped up as a leader within the squad.

Brian McDermott makes just one change from his squad from last week, with Brett Delaney returning to replace Jordan Baldwinson. Delaney missed the win at Huddersfield with a groin injury, but is back in contention this week, with Baldwinson expected to turn out for dual-registration club Featherstone. Josh Walters and Ash Handley will both be pushing for places in the 17, after being 18th and 19th men last week. The Rhinos are still without Keith Galloway and Stevie Ward through injury, while Brad Singleton is still suspended.

Wigan are boosted by the inclusion Oliver Gildart, Liam Farrell and Ryan Sutton. Gildart has been out for four weeks with a shoulder injury, while Farrell and Sutton have both missed their last two games with calf and eye problems respectively. They replace Joe Bretherton, Josh Ganson and Callum Field in the 19. Anthony Gelling and Ben Flower are also in the squad, after shrugging off injuries that forced them from the field against Hull at the weekend. The Warriors still have a hefty injury list and were dealt a further blow this week with the news that Sam Tomkins is set for a further two months out. Michael McIlorum, however, is expected to be back within the coming weeks after missing over a year with a broken and dislocated ankle.

Leeds Rhinos: Ashton Golding, Tom Briscoe, Kallum Watkins, Joel Moon, Ryan Hall, Danny McGuire, Rob Burrow, Matt Parcell, Adam Cuthbertson, Jamie Jones-Buchanan, Carl Ablett, Liam Sutcliffe, Brett Delaney, Mitch Garbutt, Jimmy Keinhorst, Brett Ferres, Anthony Mullally, Josh Walters, Ash Handley.

Wigan Warriors: Anthony Gelling, Oliver Gildart, George Williams, Thomas Leuluai, Frank-Paul Nuuausala, Ben Flower, Joel Tomkins, Liam Farrell, Tony Clubb, Sam Powell, Taulima Tautai, Ryan Sutton, Willie Isa, Morgan Escaré, Nick Gregson, Romain Navarrete, Liam Forsyth, Liam Marshall, Tom Davies

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