Widnes host Huddersfield at the Select Security Stadium this afternoon with former Wests Tigers prop forward Jack Buchanan set to make his debut for Denis Betts’ side.
The Australian joined the Vikings two weeks ago and has aired his excitement about playing for his new club on social media.
Despite Buchanan entering a fresh environment with Widnes, there is nothing fresh about his new side’s performances, which have gone stale since mid-March, resulting in eight successive losses in the league.
Huddersfield and Widnes have been at polar opposites this season. While Widnes started the campaign magnificently, the Giants suffered through injuries. Just a few months later, Huddersfield are rejuvenated once more while Widnes are on the brink of the bottom four.
Paul Anderson’s men have won three of their last five, including a thrashing of St Helens at the Magic Weekend. Their rejuvenation has been supported as much of the spine of their team has returned.
Winger Jermaine McGillvary is also on a good run, having tallied four in his last five with a total of 13 league tries for the season. His opposite number, Corey Thompson, meanwhile, has only managed two tries in his last five, compared to eight tries in the first five games of the season.
Thompson’s first eight tries came as Widnes started the season in brilliant form, and two of those came at the John Smith’s Stadium in today’s reverse fixture.
In the first meeting between these two sides this season, where Widnes won 36-18, Huddersfield were without Scott Grix, Joe Wardle, Danny Brough and Jamie Ellis, players who will surely play a big part if Huddersfield are to win today.
Widnes Vikings 19-man squad: Brown, Bridge, Buchanan, Cahill, J Chapelow, Dean, Dudson, Hanbury, Houston, Leuluai, Manuokafoa, Marsh, Mellor, Runciman, Sa, Thompson, White, Whitely, Walker
Huddersfield Giants 19-man squad: Grix, McGillvary, Cudjoe, Wardle, Murphy, Brough, Ellis, Crabtree, Hinchcliffe, Lawrence, K Wood, Rapira, Ta’ai, Connor, J Johnson, Mason, Roberts, Brierley, Ikahihifo