2 days ago
Super League Sunday - Preview
Wakefield Trinity Wildcats are looking to gain their third successive victory when London Broncos visit Belle Vue on Sunday afternoon.
They followed up their stunning triumph at reigning champions St Helens with a good win over basement outfit Halifax last week, although a late comeback cut the margin of victory to 22-18.
While they have lost Dallas Hood to a one-game ban following an incident in last weekend's game, the Wildcats hope to welcome back player-coach Adrian Vowles from a knee injury.
Ian Knott, who injured a leg against Halifax, and Matt Seers, who aggravated a hamstring problem, are expected to be fit, but Jon Wells, who strained his hamstring in the warm-up at St Helens, is likely to miss out again.
London felt the full force of St Helens' bounce back after that defeat to Wakefield when they went down 62-16 at Knowsley Road last Friday night.
Coach Tony Rea has swung the axe this week, making a total of ten team changes, including restoring those three to the starting line-up.
Dennis Moran drops to the bench, with Rob Purdham and Chris Thorman teaming up at half back, while loan prop Tommy Gallagher makes his first start after impressing on debut last week.
Andrew Hamilton returns following a broken arm among the substitutes bench as the Broncos look to gather some ground on the top seven - with Warrington opening up a gap on both London and the Wildcats. --------------- Widnes Vikings and Huddersfield Giants are hoping to put their recent runs of defeats behind them when they meet at The Halton Stadium on Sunday.
Widnes go into the game on the back of a three-match losing run, and having been told that a big improvement is needed after a disappointing 40-2 defeat at Castleford last week.
Huddersfield, on the other hang, were encouraged by some areas of their display in the 52-6 thumping by Bradford last Sunday - despite that being their fourth straight loss.
They have not won since Good Friday, when they completed a treble of wins with a one-point defeat of Halifax, and have since lost out to Castleford, London and Hull.
They could be boosted by the return of Paul Reilly, who is now fit again after nine months in the stands with a broken leg, although Graham Holroyd is doubtful with a rib injury.
Iain Morrison looks set to retain his place in the first team following his enthusiastic appearance last weekend, while Gareth Greenwood could also figure as Steve McNamara continues his recovery from a knee operation.
Widnes coach Neil Kelly admitted this week that he is tempted to swing the axe following their poor showing at The Jungle, when he had a 'full and frank' discussion with his players for a good half an hour after the final whistle.
While Stuart Spruce and Marvin Golden hope to return from leg injuries to press for a place, Dan Potter will not be involved after joining Oldham on loan for a month. ---------------- Hull are looking to move four points clear of St Helens in third place in the Tetley's Super League table when the reigning champions visit The Kingston Communications Stadium on Monday evening.
Saints bounced back from their defeat to Wakefield by putting 62 points past London Broncos last Friday, when hookers Keiron Cunningham and Mick Higham both scored hat-tricks.
Ian Millward will have the luxury of naming an unchanged team as they look to continue that form in a Bank Holiday showdown.
Jason Hooper and Tommy Martyn are still out with long-term injuries, but Millward has an otherwise fully fit squad.
Hull are in a different situation, with Tony Smith becoming the third member of their squad to suffer a broken leg this season when he was injured at Leeds last week. Richard Fletcher, with a cracked sternum is still out and captain Jason Smith misses the chance to face brother Darren as he continues his recovery from a shoulder injury.
Richie Barnett hopes to return, and that would allow Richard Horne to move to scrum half and cover for Smith, with Kirk Yeaman switching to wing and Steve Prescott reverting to full back.
Hull may have needed Prescott's last-minute penalty to gain a 10-all draw at Leeds last week, but a point was the least they deserved following a fine display in terrible conditions.
They led 8-0 after an excellent first half showing and will need a similarly effective defensive effort and kicking game if they are to stop Saints' march before it has reached full stride once again.