Two of Super League’s heavyweights go head-to-head on Friday night at Headingley, as Leeds Rhinos entertain Wigan Warriors with just a point between them in the table.
Leeds come into this huge clash after an unbeaten Easter schedule. They drew with Huddersfield before a 20-0 home win over Salford, which was backed up with a hard-fought 28-26 win at Wakefield last Sunday to keep them in the top four and a point behind Wigan Warriors.
The good news for Brian McDermott will be the return of prop Adam Cuthbertson, who has been out with a hand injury since the World Club Challenge in February. Brett Delaney also comes into the squad, with Liam Sutcliffe and Brett Ferres the two to make way.
Leeds Rhinos 19-man squad: Golding, Briscoe, Watkins, Hall, Moon, Myler, Cuthbertson, Parcell, Singleton, Jones-Buchanan, Ablett, Ward, Dwyer, Delaney, Mullally, Handley, Smith, Oledzki, Walters.
After derby defeat at St Helens on Good Friday, Wigan recovered with a demolition of Hull KR before a second-half comeback at Catalans last Saturday to win 32-23 and stay second in the Super League table, four points behind Saints.
The Warriors make just one change from the trip to Perpignan, with Ben Flower out following a concussion last weekend. Morgan Escare takes his place in the 19-man squad.
Wigan Warriors 19-man squad: S Tomkins, Sarginson, Gildart, Burgess, Williams, Powell, Clubb, Leuluai, J Tomkins, Farrell, O’Loughlin, Bateman, Sutton, Tautai, Isa, Escare, Marshall, Navarrete, Hamlin.
HEAD TO HEAD
Both ties between the two sides at Headingley last year were won by the Rhinos, 26-18 in March and 32-16 in August in the Super 8s.
Wigan have lost in their last seven trips to Leeds, with their last win a 50-8 demolition back in 2012.
KEY BATTLE- Richie Myler vs George Williams
These two players stand alone on top of the try assists charts, creating 11 tries each already this season.
Myler has settled quickly into the role of key creator for the champions, and the partnership with Joel Moon continues to improve with every week. Some pundits doubted whether he was up to the task of playing scrum half for the Rhinos, but he has so far proved them wrong.
The talent of Williams, meanwhile, had not been in doubt but after a disappointing year for the Warriors last year he needed to step up and he has certainly done that to be the key creative force.
The player that finds the key passes and kicks in attack will be crucial in deciding which team will come out on top.
THE IMPORTANT DETAILS
Date: Friday 13 April
Venue: Emerald Headingley Stadium
Referee: Ben Thaler
WHO WILL WIN?