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Superleague R22 Preview
Round 22 sees a massive five games being played simultaneously on Friday night. Six rounds out from the play-offs and everyone still has something to play for? Game on!
Friday: Hull FC v Leeds Rhinos at KC Stadium - televised
Outright second spot is up for grabs here and it?s one win each so far in clashes this season. Leeds have lost their last three games in a row, including being dominated by Huddersfield in last weekend?s Challenge Cup Semi Final. Danny McGuire remains unavailable but Leeds are expecting internationals Jamie Thackray and Clinton Toopi to make their club debuts. Hull won thirteen on the trot before losing to Harlequins a fortnight ago, and will be looking to bounce back to winning form with Paul Cooke, Gareth Raynor and Gareth Carvell likely to make their returns from injury. This should be a top clash between two top sides.
Friday: Bradford Bulls v Warrington Wolves at Grattan (Odsal) Stadium
On the other side of Yorkshire it?s fourth versus fifth, as Warrington hope to establish their play-off credentials by continuing a four game hoodoo over the Bulls. Paul Rauhihi looks set to make his first appearance since May for the Wolves after recovering from a back injury. A win for Warrington would help keep sixth place Salford and others off their tail, while Bradford need the points to try and improve on their fourth placing in coming weeks. Will the hoodoo prevail?
Friday: St Helens v Huddersfield Giants at Knowsley Road
In Lancashire there?s a preview of the Challenge Cup final, and with Huddersfield already having scored one close win and one close loss against St Helens this season, this should be a tight contest. Captain Paul Sculthorpe has been named in the Saints squad to make his return from medial ligament injury sustained in the GB v NZ test match. Huddersfield are only two points outside sixth place and a potential play-off berth, so every game for the Giants from here on will count.
Friday: Salford Reds v Harlequins RL at The Willows
Salford will hear a Government decision about their plans for a new stadium in late November, but for now they must stay focussed on maintaining their play-off spot. Losses to Wigan and Catalans have seen Salford edge closer to slipping out of the top six, and Harlequins are only three points behind and coming off their streak-ending win against Hull. Karl Fitzpatrick returns for Salford, while released winger Anthony Stewart may make his debut for new club Harlequins. Another match with a lot at stake, requiring both sides to put in their best performances.
Friday: Wigan Warriors v Catalans Dragons at JJB Stadium
Rounding up the Friday night action Wigan look to put more distance between themselves and last spot against a Catalans side that are looking to do likewise. The Warriors are playing to avoid relegation, and the exempt French side are playing for pride and coming off a win against Salford last start. Pat Richards and David Vaealiki return to the Warriors squad in place of Kris Radlinski and Brett Dallas, following Wigan?s first loss in six matches last start against Warrington. It remains to be seen whether that set-back will dent their momentum, or whether the Dragons can give Wakefield a helping hand.
Saturday: Castleford v Wakefield at The Jungle - televised
Another Yorkshire derby on Saturday night with Castleford well placed to continue their successful return to Superleague and stay just off the pace of a play-off berth. Wakefield however will be desperate to turn their season around with new coach John Kear at the helm with the difficult task of helping the club avoid relegation. New Wildcats signing Tevita Latu will not be available while fulfilling community service obligations in Australia, while the Tigers will be without suspended half back Danny Brough. Desperation sometimes inspires surprising results in sport, time will tell if the Wildcats have what it takes to fight for survival.
Points table ? six rounds to go:
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