Game two of the Dacia Magic Weekend sees Hull FC take on the Huddersfield Giants.
Here’s everything you need to know.
TEAM FORM GUIDE
Hull FC had a tough trip to Warrington last weekend, however a strong defensive performance was rewarded as they held on to win 19-12. Hull had been alternating their form with a pattern of a win followed by a defeat, but the Cup win against Castleford preceded the away win at Warrington.
Hull come into this contest in fourth position.
The Giants won their first match in four last weekend after a home success over Hull KR. Simon Wolford’s side have not won away from the John Smiths Stadium since March 31st but in that time, the Giants have played some good rugby and may believe that they have been unfortunate not to have registered a few more wins.
Huddersfield sit ninth in the table.
Josh Bowden is included in the squad for the first time in over a year. The 27-year-old prop suffered an ACL injury last season and has only featured in one match since, which was a reserve match against Bradford. He replaces Jordan Thompson.
Meanwhile, Danny Houghton and Sika Manu are both in line to return after missing last week’s match.
Bureta Faraimo misses out once again due to a dead leg, which allows Kieran Buchanan another opportunity to feature.
Hull have won five of their 12 matches at the Magic Weekend. They have won only one of three matches at the event when they have not faced Hull KR though.
Hull FC’s 19-man squad: Shaul, Griffin, Kelly, Sneyd, Taylor, Houghton, Bowden, Hadley, Minichiello, Westerman, Connor, Green, Matongo, Fash, Manu, Paea, Washbrook, Naulago, Buchanan.
One change has been made by Simon Woolford, who welcomes back the returning Alex Mellor but Huddersfield are still without half-back Matt Fawley.
The Giants hold an impressive record at the Magic Weekend, with eight wins and a draw from 12 appearances. Only Wigan have more points at the event.
Huddersfield’s 19-man squad: McIntosh, McGillvary, Turner, Gaskell, Clough, Leeming, Matagi, Murphy, Mellor, Lawrence, O’Brien, Ta’ai, English, Jake Wardle, Russell, Hewitt, L. Senior, I. Senior, Joe Wardle.
HEAD TO HEAD
This is the second meeting of the season with the first coming back in March. Hull made the trip to a West Yorkshire on a damp Sunday afternoon and after a close first half battle, Hull pulled away in the second half to win 28-8. Tries in both halves from Joe Westerman, as well as tries from Ratu Naulago and two for Josh Griffin secured back to back successes for Lee Radford’s men.
In the last five meetings, very few of the matches have been close, however the head to head has Huddersfield with one more win than their East Yorkshire opponents.
In the Super League era, Hull have the advantage over Huddersfield, with the Black and Whites recording 10 wins more than Huddersfield have over the East Yorkshire side.
Jamie Shaul (Hull FC) v Darnell McIntosh (Huddersfield)
The key to this match could be due to the fullbacks on either side. Jamie Shaul has recently returned from a concussion suffered away at London and will be hoping to be the same explosive player as previously. Shaul is usually reliable under the high ball and often threatens sides in attack by his support play and running the right lines.
Darnell McIntosh is one of the stars in the Giants side. He has the most assists in the Giants’ side, with nine so far along with his six tries. McIntosh often runs at the line to entice defenders in, hence why he has that many assists to his name. The fullback is a key asset to this side and was rewarded with a two-year deal last month. A fans favourite and if he is able to attack the Hull line, he could be leading the Giants side to another Magic victory.
THE IMPORTANT DETAILS
Date: Saturday 25th May
Kick-off: 4:30 PM
Referee: Liam Moore
WHO WILL WIN?
The Magic Weekend is always a great event and can produce surprise results as it is a big stage and opportunity for some sides. Huddersfield have a strong record, but that has been against weaker opposition at stages. Hull have looked dangerous and I would be surprised if the Giants beat them. I am going for a Hull win in the second match in the Magic programme.