Danny McGuire returns to his old club as Leeds Rhinos host Hull KR in the first ever Super League game at Elland Road.
TEAM FORM GUIDE
Last time out Leeds took apart Warrington at the Halliwell Jones Stadium to get their season off to a perfect start. Once again, Warrington looked the real deal on paper and could not convert against a barely firing Leeds side.
Lost out to a much improved Wakefield outfit at the KCOM Stadium in their season opener. Things don’t get much better for the Robins as Danny McGuire returns to his former club for the first time since departing after winning the Super League Grand Final last year.
Nathaniel Peteru is out after suffering a bicep injury, while Ashton Golding and Mitch Garbutt are included after coming off the injury list. The big inclusion for Leeds, however, is back-rower Stevie Ward. Ward is included after recovering from shoulder operation.
Leeds Rhinos: Golding, Briscoe, Watkins, Sutcliffe, Hall, Moon, Myler, Cuthbertson, Parcell, Singleton, Jones-Buchanan, Ablett, Ward, Dwyer, Delaney, Mullally, Garbutt, Ormondroyd, Walker.
Hull KR name the same 19-man squad that lost to Wakefield 28-6 last time out.
Hull KR: Quinlan, Minns, Heffernan, Shaw, McGuire, Lunt, Masoe, Blair, Greenwood, Kavanagh, Jewitt, Clarkson, Lee, Marsh, Mulhern, Salter, Atkin, Walne, Carney.
Former Leeds Rhinos captain, Danny McGuire, will return to his old club for the first time since leaving. Hull KR come into this off the back of a big loss at home against Wakefield and now face the defending champions and look as they look to get their season back on track. On the other hand, Leeds come into this off the back of a great win away at Warrington.
Leeds have had the lions share of wins between the two sides and have now won 8 of the last 10 meetings. One of those wins came in the 2015 Challenge Cup Final, where the Rhinos thrashed the Robins 50-0.
An intriguing match up arises with the McGuire returning to his old club to face his replacement, Richie Myler. Myler‘ s kicking game reigned supreme against Warrington in a good showing on his competitive debut for the Rhinos. McGuire, on the other hand, has had a though start to the season with his side scoring the joint lowest amount of points a single team scored in Round 1, tied with Castleford.
Both half backs, however, similarly have lots of room for improvement in attack with Leeds also struggling to score off structures in attack, with two tries coming from kicks and another coming from a sensational one man effort from Ryan Hall.
In this case though, Leeds are most likely to improve with plenty of front foot ball off the back of their big pack bolstered by Stevie Ward and Mitch Garbutt. Nevertheless, Hull KR will need to bring a powerful game up front with the likes of Mose Masoe if they are to challenge Leeds in this one.
Leeds Rhinos’ Captain, Callum Watkins:
“It’s great to see them back [in Super League] they full deserve it – it is always a great game between us and hopefully we can do that again,”
“Ahead of Melbourne, it is important for us to get as much confidence as possible and give us even more belief that we can go out there and win. If we can perform as best as we can and get a result at Elland Rd against Hull KR that will give us great confidence. It is exciting times for the club and we have to make the most of it.”
Hull KR head coach, Tim Sheens:
“Chris will come in for Matty this week and he’ll get a shot. Those two are pretty neck and neck in terms of who will partner Danny McGuire in the halves and I expect we’ll see them switch around a bit over the coming weeks.”
“But we’re going with Chris for this one because I think he’s more suited to what we’ll need against Leeds. He’s a bit more dominant than Matty and a bit more vocal and his kicking game is probably a little stronger. He’s a left-footed kicker as well, so that opens us more options for us against Leeds which will be important.”
“Their back three but particularly the two wingers carry the ball really well so finding the right areas with our kicking game will be key. It’s also forecast to be wet so that makes your kicking game even more important.”
“There’s been a lot of talk about Danny this week with it being Leeds, but it’s important that we share the ball between the two half backs and give both sides of the field some ball. I’ll be looking to both Danny and Chris to take the pressure off each other and not to try too hard. We obviously want them to put the effort in but with it being Danny’s old club I’m sure he’ll want to prove a point, and this is Chris’ biggest test so far, we want cool heads.”
Hull KR have won away at Leeds three times in the last eight years.
THE IMPORTANT DETAILS
Date: Thursday 8th February 2018
Venue: Elland Road
Kick-off: 19:45 GMT
WHO WILL WIN?
Leeds will no doubt back up their opening win of the campaign with a comprehensive performance in front of a raucous Elland Road crowd. The Rhinos provided a good performance last time out against Warrington and will no doubt improve from it. The only limiting factor for Leeds, however, will be if Ashton Golding is included at full back instead of Jack Walker. Hull KR will need a very big performance to cause an upset in this one. Leeds by 20.