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Round Ten Preview
Clubs back up for their second game in four or five days in the second part of the traditional Easter double header weekend, with Round 10 of Superleague to take place across Easter Monday and Tuesday. Players may be a bit sore and a bit tired, so often its the club with the better tactics here that will come out of the weekend with the wins.
In the first of the Easter Monday games, Wigan Warriors host Harlequins in a midday match at the JJB. Harlequins are coming off their first home win of the season on Friday, where Luke Dorn, Thomas Leuluai and Mark McLinden showed good form against visiting Les Catalans. Wigan were outclassed by St Helens on Friday in their derby game, despite a good game from Chris Ashton on the wing. With an announcement on their replacement coach pending the Wigan players will be keen to impress, while for the Harlequins a win here would increase their buffer over this seasons surprise cellar dwellers.
In form Salford Reds host Leeds Rhinos at The Willows later that afternoon. Salford notched up a good away win over Warrington on Friday, and stand-off Andrew Dunemann will be keen for a repeat performance here against his former club. Playing without their captain Kevin Sinfield, Leeds suffered a narrow last minute loss on Thursday against local rivals Bradford, but will be keen to come away with some points from the weekend. This should be a great match and the winner will move to outright second on the league table.
Also in an afternoon match, Hull will host Wakefield Trinity Wildcats at the KC Stadium. Despite being outside the top six at the moment, both sides are coming off Round 9 wins. Hull have been playing stronger over the past few weeks, and with the return of Richard Swain in the pack and players keen to impress before new coach Peter Sharp arrives were able to defeat Huddersfield on Friday. Wakefield recorded a good win in their derby against Castleford, with halves Jamie Rooney and Ben Jeffries showing good form. This game could go either way, with both teams wanting to stay close to the head of the bunch in contention for 5th and 6th places on the table.
In the Easter Monday televised game, Castleford host Warrington at The Jungle. Both teams are coming off a loss and will be trying to adjust to some injuries to key players. Warrington lost stand off Lee Briers for their game against Salford, and Chris Bridge was carried off the field during the first half. Castleford were forced to call 38 year old veteran Brad Davis out of retirement for their game against Wakefield to try and address their scrum half problems. This game will be a measure of the tough demands of the double header weekend and it looks like it will come down to survival of the fittest.
Les Catalans Dragons will be hoping that the trip to Perpignan will prove the thorn in St Helens' side when they host the league leaders in France on Monday night. Catalans were not really in the hunt against Harlequins on Friday, while St Helens made every post a winner against Wigan, notching up eight tries. Catalans seem to have lifted a level after the arrival of full-time coach Mick Potter, and fans of the French team will be hoping that they can at least test the undefeated St Helens here.
And in Round 10's final game, Bradford Bulls host Huddersfield Giants in front of the cameras at Odsal on Tuesday night. In what has been rumoured to be coach Brian Noble's last game in charge at Bradford before a possible mid-season transfer to the vacant Wigan post, it will be interesting to see whether the speculation has any effect on the Bulls' on-field performance. But the players didn't give up on Thursday against rivals Leeds and were rewarded with the last minute win. Huddersfield are currently in fifth place, but with five teams breathing down their neck they will want to be at their best here in the hope of scoring a vital win.