It’s that time of the week again when pundits make their predictions ready for the next round of Super League, but just how will sides fare?
Huddersfield v Hull FC
The Giants come into the game on the back of a double blow, having lost 14-12 to Wigan last week – their sixth straight defeat – and confirmation coming on Monday that star halfback Aidan Sezer is leaving to join Leeds at the end of the year. FC are yet to play this month after having three games postponed, including the Hull derby, due to a COVID-19 outbreak within their camp. Their last outing was actually against Huddersfield at the end of June, with the Black and Whites emerging with a 17-10 victory.
The Giants name 19 players, with hooker James Cunningham and forward Owen Trout returning after missing out in recent weeks. They replace James Gavet and youngsters Fenton Rogers and Kieran Rush. FC also name a 19-man squad, with the likes of Carlos Tuimavave, Josh Bowden, Adam Swift, Danny Houghton and Jordan Lane returning. Several players remain unavailable, however, due to injury and COVID-19 return to play protocols, meaning Brett Hodgson is without Bureta Faraimo, Josh Reynolds, Connor Wynne, Manu Ma’u, Joe Cator, Jake Connor (jaw, knee), Josh Griffin (achilles), Scott Taylor (foot), Masi Matongo (knee) and Jamie Shaul (ACL).
Huddersfield have been struggling as of late and, despite not playing for a month, Hull should be far too strong.
Hull FC by 18
Leeds v Salford
It’s been a tough couple of weeks for the Rhinos, as they suffered back-to-back losses to Catalans despite leading at half-time in both matches. Prior to that, Richard Agar’s side had won four games on the bounce, scoring 168 points in total, including a fiery 38-12 victory over Salford. The Red Devils, meanwhile, have won their last two games, beating Castleford at The Mend-A-Hose Jungle before a victory over Wakefield at Warrington’s Halliwell Jones Stadium last week.
Ash Handley and Mikolaj Oledzki are both back in contention after missing the trip to Perpignan last week due to COVID-19 close contact procedures, while Rhyse Martin also returns from suspension. Young trio Morgan Gannon, Liam Tindall and Corey Hall are the ones to drop out. Captain Lee Mossop (punching) and Jack Wells (dangerous throw) both return from respective bans picked up in the clash with the Rhinos four weeks ago, while Dan Sarginson is also back. The only player to drop out is prop Josh Johnson.
Despite losing their last two games, Leeds were taking on the league leaders and they should bounce back here – even if the end result will be close
Leeds by 6
Wigan v Wakefield
The Warriors have seemingly come through their rough patch of form that saw them lose five in a row, with back-to-back wins both home and away against Huddersfield. Trinity have been less fortunate in their last two games, with defeats to Salford and St Helens, however their last win was a 14-6 triumph over Wigan at the end of June.
Jackson Hastings returns from suspension and is one of two changes made by Adrian Lam, with Willie Isa also back from a ban. They replace Liam Byrne, who drops out with a rib injury, and Amir Bourouh, who was a late call-up last week after returning from a loan spell with Halifax. Trinity are boosted by the return of five players, with Kyle Wood, Chris Green and Alex Walker all back from injury and Ryan Hampshire and Joe Arundel available again after suspension. They replace youngsters Ollie Greensmith and Pat O’Donovan, while Joe Westerman also drops out.
There’s something about Wakefield this season that springs a surprise every now and then and they tend to play well against Wigan. Another shock on the cards?
Wakefield by 4
Catalans v Hull KR