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SUPER LEAGUE PREVIEW | Hull FC vs Leeds Rhinos

Hull and Leeds meet at the KCOM Stadium with the winners climbing into the top four.

SQUAD NEWS

Hull FC

Hull welcome Leeds to the KCOM with an unbeaten record at home so far this season, and have won four of their last five games to put themselves into contention for a top four spot. They won 39-20 a week ago at Widnes, their first victory of the year outside the city of Hull.

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The Black and Whites could line up with an entirely new back row, as Lee Radford welcomes back into his squad Sika Manu, Marc Minichiello and Dean Hadley, in place of Danny Washbrook, Jack Logan and Jack Downs.

Hull FC 19-man squad: Shaul, Faraimo, Tuimavave, Griffin, Talanoa, Kelly, Sneyd, Taylor, Houghton, Hadley, Minichiello, Bowden, Connor, Green, Manu, Litten, Paea, Lane, Matongo.

Leeds Rhinos

Leeds were beaten in dramatic circumstances last Friday as a Sam Tomkins drop goal sealed victory for Wigan at Headingley. That result means they have won just two of their last five games and have dropped out of the play-off places.

Brian McDermott makes only one change to his squad, with hooker Brad Dwyer out with an elbow injury and Brett Ferres taking his place for the Rhinos. They are still without Liam Sutcliffe, Mitch Garbutt and Jack Walker, while Jimmy Keinhorst last week joined Widnes on a month’s loan.

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There’s a significant milestone for Leeds this week, with back rower Jamie Jones-Buchanan set to make his 400th appearance for the club.

At 36, the last of Leeds’ golden generation is still heavily influential for his home town club, 19 years after making his debut against Wakefield.

Leeds 19-man squad: Golding, Briscoe, Watkins, Hall, Moon, Myler, Cuthbertson, Parcell, Singleton, Jones-Buchanan, Ablett, Ward, Delaney, Mullally, Ferres, Handley, Smith, Oledzki, Walters

HEAD TO HEAD

Hull FC’s record against Leeds in recent years has been woeful, with the Rhinos victorious in each of the last ten Super League clashes, as well as the last five trips to Hull in all competitions. Hull’s only victory since 2014 was in the Challenge Cup semi-final last season.

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This is the second meeting between the two sides this year, after Leeds’ 20-16 win at Headingley in March, where Tom Briscoe and Kallum Watkins scored two tries each to get the Rhinos over the line.

Despite their head-to-head dominance, three of the last four league meetings have been settled by four points or less.

KEY BATTLE- Fetuli Talanoa vs Tom Briscoe

Hull’s start to the season hasn’t been perfect but one man who has certainly been on fire in 2018 is Fetuli Talanoa.

The departure of Mahe Fonua has put more pressure on Talanoa and he has responded with 12 tries in 11 matches.

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Opposing him on that wing will be Tom Briscoe, who made his name in six seasons at Hull before being snapped up by the Rhinos. Briscoe scored twice at Headingley against his old side and will be looking to have the same impact in the reverse.

THE IMPORTANT DETAILS

Date: Thursday 19 April
Venue: KCOM Stadium
Kick-off: 7:45pm
Referee: Ben Thaler

WHO WILL WIN?

Who will come out on top?

I am a 19-year-old Sports Journalism student at the University of Huddersfield. I cover a lot of rugby league, following Hull FC and Huddersfield Giants and working for Halifax RLFC. If you want to see more of my ramblings on rugby and football then follow me on Twitter @stibbo99.

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