This week we’re treated to one of the biggest games in rugby league as arguably the two biggest clubs in Britain do battle at a famous old stadium.
This year hasn’t been the season Leeds Rhinos fans dreamed of, but under Rohan Smith the Rhinos have played some superb rugby. Whether they’ll be able to produce that against a competition front runner especially with a number of doubts in their team remains to be seen.
As for Wigan, they’re the biggest threat to St Helens at present and are scoring tries for fun. Leeds can’t afford to let them get going otherwise the Rhinos could suffer another substantial defeat.
Things just get worse for Leeds especially at prop with Sam Walters dropping out of the squad. Fortunately, Muizz Mustapha is back from a ban and Yusuf Aydin could make his debut. The likes of Blake Austin and Aidan Sezer are still out whilst Kruise Leeming looks set to be out for the rest of the season. Fortunately, the Rhinos will welcome back Harry Newman, Liam Sutcliffe and former Wigan man Zak Hardaker.
Wigan have made just one change to their squad and it comes in the shape of the major boost of Mike Cooper’s potential debut after his switch from Warrington. The rest of the squad remains the same with the likes of John Bateman still injured.
Match Preview – Key Battles:
Richie Myler vs Jai Field: Jai Field has been Super League’s best player this season but Richie Myler might have been the league’s most underrated player over the last three seasons. The Rhinos are almost a different team with him out the back because of his skillset. However, for his skills to have any impact on the game, they’re going to have to shut down the electric Field first.
Ash Handley vs Bevan French: Down Leeds’ left flank we’re set for an amazing battle. Between the two of them, Ash Handley and Bevan French have scored 12 tries against Hull FC in their last appearances against them. Both are true speedsters and you wouldn’t bet against them both scoring.
Mikolaj Oledzki vs Liam Byrne: Mikolaj Oledzki is going to have to lead the way for the Leeds pack given the fact every senior prop at the club is suspended except for him. He’ll be up against another young prop with a high potential in Liam Byrne. It should be a fiery affari.
Where the game will be won and lost:
If Leeds are put on the back foot, which would certainly be understandable with so many absentees in the engine room, Wigan will exploit the space this will result in with their pace and run riot. If Leeds can find a foothold in the game and express themselves like they have done at times under Rohan Smith they’ll give themselves a puncher’s chance.
Score Prediction: Leeds Rhinos 10-32 Wigan Warriors