Leeds and Salford have both started 2017 with mixed fortunes after experiencing victory and defeat in the first two rounds of the new campaign. Round three sees the Rhinos host opposition at Headingley for the first time this season, while Salford will be galvanised after a vital away victory at Huddersfield last week.

Last time out

Brian McDermott’s Leeds picked up their first win of the season at Leigh Sports Village in round two, scoring three tries in an important away victory at the newly promoted Centurions. Ryan Hall recorded his first effort of the season and Liam Sutcliffe showed quality game management once more, slotting a drop goal and two conversions to help seal victory for the Rhinos.

Salford also secured their first win in 2017 last time out as they picked up two points at the John Smith’s Stadium against Huddersfield. Red Devils full-back Gareth O’Brien was influential throughout, diving over the whitewash twice and kicking seven goals as the tie finished 20-30 in his side’s favour.

Key battle

Many of the tie’s tries could be scored by each team’s centres, as the pace and power of Kallum Watkins lines up against the strength of Josh Jones – a trait he displayed in Salford’s victory over the Giants in round two. Joel Moon has recovered from concussion and will play for Leeds on Friday, while Junior Sa’u is an ever-present threat going forward for the Red Devils.

Prediction

Salford are without new signing Todd Carney, despite the ex-Catalan half-back being granted permission to play in Super League, while winger Justin Carney is banned after he was found guilty of a Grade C offence against a match official in round two.

Leeds welcome Joel Moon back into the centres but will be without both Brett Ferres and Keith Galloway on Friday.

The Red Devils will be a good outfit in 2017 if disciplinary and financial issues do not trouble them, and Ian Watson’s men could push their hosts close in round three.

Leeds by 8.

Squads

Leeds Rhinos: Golding, Briscoe, Watkins, Moon, Hall, McGuire, Burrow, Parcell, Cuthbertson, Jones-Buchanan, Ablett, Ward, Sutcliffe, Singleton, Garbutt, Keinhorst, Mullally, Walters, Ormondroyd.

Salford Red Devils: A Walne, Kopczak, O’Brien, Griffin, Johnson, Bibby, Jones, Wood, Sa’u, Welham, Brining, Tasi, Mossop, Tomkins, Flanagan, Dobson, Krasniqi, Lui, Lannon.