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Castleford Tigers

SUPER LEAGUE PREVIEW | ROUND 3 | Castleford Tigers vs Hull FC

Castleford Tigers host Hull FC at the Mend-A-Hose Jungle as they look to make it three wins in a row at home. Hull FC’s last away win came against Castleford in the Super 8s last September.

TEAM FORM GUIDE

Castleford Tigers

Castleford got their 2018 Super League campaign off to a poor start with a thrashing away at St. Helens. They have since beaten a much-improved Widnes Vikings side at home and have had an extra week to prepare for Hull.

Hull FC

Hull come into this off the back of a close loss to the St. George Illawara Dragons and a 24-10 defeat against Wigan, both of which were played in Australia. Hull, however, got the season off to a start prior to their trip to Australia with a 38-12 win over Huddersfield.

SQUAD NEWS

Joe Wardle replaces Matt Cookin Daryl Powell’s side, while Lee Radford have also called up a back rower in Jordan Lane following his effort in Perpignan.

Castleford Tigers (from): Eden, Ellis, Foster, Gale, J. Green, Hitchcox, Holmes, Massey, McMeeken, McShane, Millington, Milner, Minikin, Moors, Roberts, Sene-Lefao, Shenton, Wardle, Webster.

Hull FC (from): Shaul, Faraimo, Tuimavave, Griffin, Talanoa, Kelly, Sneyd, Watts, Hadley, Bowden, Connor, C. Green, Abdull, Washbrook, Fash, Paea, Turgut, Lane, Matongo.

PREVIEW

Considering that Castleford most probably met this year’s Super League Grand Final winners in their season opener it’s not the worst situation for last year’s league leader’s shield winners.

The most worrying thing for the Tigers, however, is their unconvincing win at home against Widnes last time out. Although Widnes are a decent side this season, Castleford should be putting more points on theoretically inferior teams such as the Vikings.

By contrast, Hull opened up their Super League career with a massive win against Huddersfield and the subsequently lost to Wigan abroad. Hull, however, showed their worth against a classy St. George Illawara side when losing out by only six points just a week later.

Albert Kelly is, once again, the standout player for Hull alongside the omnipresent keystone of the black and whites, Mark Sneyd. On Saturday, Kelly and Sneyd will come up against a relatively new half back partnership in the form of Luke Gale and Jake Trueman.

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The two haven’t hit the heights of the Gale and Roberts partnership of last season but evidently, it’s early days and the two will need time to gel. This has been clear in Castleford’s results this season, however as the pairing becomes more familiar in competitive gameplay, the two will most likely have a big impact on any game. It just probably won’t be this one.

Sneyd and Kelly, however, offer the perfect storm of flair and pragmatism and will most likely capitalise on the gulf in fluidity between the halfback partnerships. Although they went down to Wigan 24-10, they offered a good amount in attack in what was an error-strewn game. They should be able to capitalise even more this time out if Castleford remain seemingly frail in defence.

It’s still very early in the season, however, so it’ll be a learning curve for both sides but the biggest positive for the neutral is undoubtedly the two teams’ ability to score points against each other; their last eight meetings have tallied 46 points or higher. Let’s hope there are some more points in this one.

KEY STAT

Hull have won four of the last six meetings between the two sides in all competitions.

SQUADS

Castleford Tigers (from): Eden, Ellis, Foster, Gale, J. Green, Hitchcox, Holmes, Massey, McMeeken, McShane, Millington, Milner, Minikin, Moors, Roberts, Sene-Lefao, Shenton, Wardle, Webster.

Hull FC (from): Shaul, Faraimo, Tuimavave, Griffin, Talanoa, Kelly, Sneyd, Watts, Hadley, Bowden, Connor, C. Green, Abdull, Washbrook, Fash, Paea, Turgut, Lane, Matongo.

THE IMPORTANT DETAILS

Date: Saturday 24th February

Venue: Mend-A-Hose Jungle, Castleford

Kick-off: 15:15 GMT

WHO WILL WIN?

Castleford don’t seem to have hit top gear yet this season and the extra break probably won’t have helped with the team’s game level cohesion. On the other hand, Hull FC have already played a lot more rugby than Castleford but they seem to have more of a competitive edge in their games, despite losing two of the last three. The only issue here will be if Hull leave their legs on the plane back from Australia. It will be tough but Hull should edge this one. Hull FC by 4.

Round 3 - Castleford Tigers vs Hull FC

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