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MATCH PREVIEW | Hull FC vs Leeds Rhinos

Hull host the Leeds Rhinos in the Betfred Super League with Lee Radford’s side looking for their third win in a row.

 

TEAM FORM GUIDE

Hull FC

A couple weeks ago Hull had pressure building after continuing their poor end to last season, however back to back away victories put the side in fifth position.

A golden point victory against Wigan was followed by a strong second half performance against Huddersfield last week, after the Black and Whites scored 22 unanswered points in the second half.

MATCH REPORT | Huddersfield Giants 8-28 Hull FC

Leeds Rhinos

Leeds have had a poor start to the season with one victory from their opening five matches, however the Rhinos have faced some strong opposition so far.

Their only win so far this season came in a 46-14 away victory against Salford in their third match. However, an away defeat at St Helens was followed by a weak performance at home against Wakefield Trinity.

MATCH REPORT | Leeds Rhinos 18-35 Wakefield Trinity

SQUAD NEWS

Hull FC

Hull welcome back England international Scott Taylor from suspension. Jamie Shaul is set to play after missing last weeks fixture due to a failed concussion test, despite being named in the squad. However, Jake Connor is out due to a knee injury. He is expected to be out for six weeks.

Ratu Naulago is set to make his home debut after impressing with three tries in two appearances.

Hull FC 19-man squad: Shaul, Faraimo, Tuimavave, Griffin, Kelly, Sneyd, Taylor, Houghton, Hadley, Minichiello, Westerman, Thompson, Matongo, Manu, Lane, Paea, Litten, Naulago, Ellis.

Leeds Rhinos

David Furner is forced into changes due to injury. Captain Kallum Watkins is out due to a knee injury. Carl Ablett is in the squad along with Jack Walker who returns from injury. It is the first time Ablett has been named in the squad this season.

Leeds Rhinos 19-man squad: Walker, Briscoe, Hurrell, Handley, Lolohea, Myler, Cuthbertson, Parcell, Singleton, Merrin, Ablett, Dwyer, Sutcliffe, Ferres, Peteru, Oledzki, Smith, Donaldson, Newman

 

HEAD TO HEAD

Historically the Rhinos have been the more dominant side, however in the last meeting Hull came out on top in a 19-18 home victory. Part of the reason why Leeds have been so dominant is due to their strong home form against Hull, with the black and whites last win at Headingley coming back in 2007.

Hull have come out on top in their last home matches against Leeds as well as the Challenge Cup semi final, however the Rhinos had won the previous three including a 52-24 drubbing back in 2017.

 

KEY BATTLE

Albert Kelly (Hull FC) v Tuimoala Lolohea (Leeds Rhinos)

 This game will probably be high scoring and that will be based around two of the key players on either side.

Albert Kelly returned to action last week against Huddersfield and didn’t look like his former self, however he will be fitter for that performance. He is a huge asset to Hull around the defensive line, both will his kicking game and ability to avoid defenders, which creates gaps for his side.

Tuimoala Lolohea has had a mixed start to the season, but his side haven’t been firing as of yet. He relieves pressure of Richie Myler which allows a stronger Leeds side. However, he has gone missing in matches which has resulted in players such as Brett Ferres kicking on the last rather than a more structure and natural player. The 24-year-old has a big future ahead of him and could develop in the side. He looks to threaten the defence near their goal line.

 

THE IMPORTANT DETAILS

Date: Friday 8 March
Venue: KCOM Stadium
Kick-off: 7:45 PM
Referee: Ben Thaler

 

WHO WILL WIN?

Hull have shown more in recent performances and have been rewarded with back to back victories. Joe Westerman has been one of the stronger players to the side and has offered more in attack for Hull. Leeds have struggled so far, but have shown their capabilities away at Salford and looked promising late on against Wakefield once the game had gone. Despite their poor recent form, I think Leeds will come out on top as they still are a strong side and it will only be a matter of time before they rise up the table.

 

 



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