The last time these two sides met the Rhinos surprised everybody by claiming a two point victory in the torrential rain at Headingley in April.
Hull’s response to that defeat was to go on a 10 match winning run, which has elevated them to the top of the First Utility Super League, and sees them facing a Ladbrokes Challenge Cup semi-final against Wigan Warriors at the Keepmoat Stadium in Doncaster at the end of this month.
Having suffered a similar defeat in the rain away to another struggling big-gun at Huddersfield Giants last week, coach Lee Radford and the Old Faithful will expect another response, starting tonight against a Rhinos side who are effectively playing for nothing, having been consigned to the Middle 8s qualifiers after their home defeat against Widnes Vikings last week.
Hull will be missing marquee man Frank ‘The Tank’ Pritchard due to an ankle injury, but they do welcome back some key personnel who were missing last week, including fullback Jamie Shaul and centre Kirk Yeaman.
The main headline for Leeds is the expected debut of hooker James Segeyaro who arrived in West Yorkshire as part of the swap deal that saw Zak Hardaker head down-under to try his hand in the NRL at Penrith Panthers.
Hull FC: Jamie Shaul, Mahe Fonua, Carlos Tuimavave, Fetuli Talanoa, Leon Pryce, Marc Sneyd, Scott Taylor, Danny Houghton, Liam Watts, Gareth Ellis, Mark Minichiello, Chris Green, Jordan Thompson, Dean Hadley, Steve Michaels, Sika Manu, Josh Bowden, Kirk Yeamen, Danny Washbrook
Leeds Rhinos: Kallum Watkins, Joel Moon, Ryan Hall, Danny McGuire, Rob Burrow, Keith Galloway, Adam Cuthbertson, Jamie Jones-Buchanan, Carl Ablett, Liam Sutcliffe, Brett Delaney, Brad Singleton, Mitch Garbutt, Jimmy Keinhorst, Mitch Achurch, Anthony Mullally, Ash Handley, Jordan Lilley, James Segeyaro
With some of their big-names coming back into the frame now Brian McDermott’s side will be expected to push the Airlie Birds in many departments.
However the Airlie Birds do seem to have found the knack of winning closely contested games, with the odd blip now and again. A controversial defeat at the John Smith’s stadium last week will only have strengthened their resolve, allied with the fact that they owe Leeds one from earlier in the season.
With a big pack, punching holes in the Rhinos defence shouldn’t be too much of a problem for the home side, and with arguably the best support player in Super League, Jamie Shaul, back in their ranks and eager to make up for missing out last week, tries should follow as well.
Prediction: Hull to win by 14
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