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Round 9 Previews
Superleague Round 9 games will be played on Thursday and Good Friday, forming the first part of the traditional Easter weekend double headers. Round 10 games will follow on Easter Monday and Tuesday, completing what can be a testing but always interesting weekend for the players, clubs and fans alike.
Thursday night's televised match is the much anticipated local derby between Leeds Rhinos and Bradford Bulls at Headingley. In recent weeks Leeds have eclipsed Bradford on the table, and will be hoping for a win to make up for their loss to the Bulls in the 2005 grand final. Bradford will be looking to improve following an unexpected loss to Warrington last start, and to put aside talk that Wigan are looking to poach coach Brian Noble.
Friday's televised game is another famous local derby pitting Wigan Warriors against undefeated St Helens at Knowsley Road. Francis Meli has suffered an ankle injury and will not be available for St Helens over the next six weeks, but Jason Cayless returns to the squad following a short illness. Wigan will be hoping for a return to form following the sacking of coach Ian Millward, but under these circumstances an upset seems very unlikely in this top versus bottom clash.
In other games on Friday, Warrington Wolves host Salford City Reds in a clash between two teams who are in the top six on the back of some winning form. Les Catalans Dragons travel to London without the services of suspended Alex Chan when they take on the Harlequins. On a high following their conclusive defeat last week of Wigan, Wakefield Trinity Wildcats host Castleford Tigers who will be hoping to recover from last weeks defeat on French soil. And finally Huddersfield Giants will be hoping that a win at home against Hull can keep them in the top six.