Huddersfield Giants and Warrington Wolves will be looking to bounce back from round one defeats, when they go head-to-head at the John Smith’s Stadium.
TEAM FORM GUIDE
A second half collapse saw Huddersfield Giants start their 2018 campaign with a defeat, going down 38-12 on Thursday evening. They had led 12-10 at the break thanks to tries from Ryan Hinchcliffe and Ukuma Ta’ai. The Giants failed to post any further points though, slumping to an opening weekend loss.
In the other Thursday night fixture, Warrington Wolves were beaten 16-12 by Leeds Rhinos in front of the Sky cameras. Ryan Atkins’ swan dive for the corner went viral, as he bombed a certain try. Tom Lineham gave the Wolves hope late on, but the defending champions held on.
Michael Lawrence is the latest absentee for Rick Stone’s side after picking up a hamstring strain. Jermaine McGilvary has a chance of featuring, while Shannon Wakeman, Alex Mellor and Tom Symonds all remain unavailable. Colton Roche has been named in the 19-man squad following his move from Bradford Bulls.
Giants squad: Danny Brough, Paul Clough, Tyler Dickinson, Dale Ferguson, Lee Gaskell, Ryan Hinchcliffe, Sebastine Ikahihifo, Kruise Leeming, Jake Mamo, Jermaine McGilvary, Darnell McIntosh, Aaron Murphy, Adam O’Brien, Jordan Rankin, Oliver Roberts, Colton Roche, Daniel Smith, Ukuma Ta’ai, Jordan Turner.
Steve Price has insisted he has no fresh injuries concerns, other than ‘a few niggles’. Sita Akauola and Dom Crosby are still out, however they are close to a return to action.
Wolves squad: Ryan Atkins, Kevin Brown, Mitch Brown, Daryl Clark, Mike Cooper, Ben Currie, Bryson Goodwin, Chris Hill, Jack Hughes, George King, Tom Lineham, Ben Murdoch-Masila, Declan Patton, Joe Philbin, Stefan Ratchford, Tyrone Roberts, Matty Russell, Morgan Smith, Ben Westwood.
When Huddersfield Giants welcome Warrington Wolves on Thursday night, they will be on the lookout for a new captain. Leroy Cudjoe’s injury gave Michael Lawrence the honour, but his hamstring problem leaves Stone needing a new leader.
While their opponents don’t have any captaincy issue, they will be hoping someone can lead them to victory. That man could well be Chris Hill, who had to exit their defeat to Leeds early due to the birth of his child. Losing the England prop-forward was costly, and took some momentum away from the Wolves pack.
If the visitors are to get their first win in Huddersfield for four years, they will be hoping for an improved halfback combination. Kevin Brown and Tyrone Roberts looked like they needed more time together, as Richie Myler haunted his former club.
The hosts will look to Danny Brough for inspiration, and if he can step up and deliver a complete performance it could extend the Giants’ winning run at home in this fixture.
Rick Stone: “Bryson Goodwin has moved over to the centre and Atkins to the right, so the dangers for Warrington won’t change too much. They have a good, skilful pack, a lively hooker and they can definitely get a strike out of a bloke like Atkins.
“I think Kevin Brown and Tyrone Roberts will be good for each other in the halves, so it’s a formidable team. I don’t know whether we saw the best of them last week against Leeds, which is to be expected with a new coach and a few new players, so no doubt they’ll get better as the weeks go on.”
Steve Price: “I’ve watched their friendlies and the Hull FC game back and the scoreline didn’t reflect the true value of how good they were in that game.
“They’re a well-coached team with an outstanding kicker in Danny Brough so we need to be on top of our game; with players like Jermaine McGillvary and Jake Mamo. We need to make sure we nullify their strengths and execute our game plan.”
Warrington Wolves haven’t won at the John Smith’s Stadium since 2014, with Huddersfield Giants recording a hat-trick of home wins in this fixture.
THE IMPORTANT DETAILS
Date: Thursday 8th February
Venue: John Smith’s Stadium
Referee: Ben Thaler
WHO WILL WIN?
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