We’re getting to the business end of the season and Leeds need to pick up some points soon. This week they travel to The Totally Wicked Stadium to face St Helens.
TEAM FORM GUIDE
Saints got back to winning ways last weekend with a comfortable 38-2 victory over Huddersfield after a shock defeat to London in the previous week. With Warrington losing to Hull KR last week, they are back to being six points clear at the top of the table.
The Rhinos had looked to have turned a corner when they beat London and Wakefield in consecutive weeks but last week they were beaten at home to Wigan meaning that they are looking at a real relegation battle.
As they are six points clear at the table, Justin Holbrook is able to rotate his squad week after week. Last week Regan Grace and Matty Lees were both rested. This week they both return replacing Adam Swift while Joseph Paulo is the player chosen to be rested this week. Jack Ashworth was cleared to play after a successful appeal of a one match ban.
St Helens 19-man squad: 1. Jonny Lomax 2. Tommy Makinson 3. Kevin Naiqama 4. Mark Percival 5. Regan Grace 6. Theo Fages 8. Alex Walmsley 10. Luke Thompson 11. Zeb Taia 13. Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook 15. Morgan Knowles 16. Kyle Amor 17. Dom Peyroux 19. Matty Lees 20. Jack Ashworth 21. Aaron Smith 22. James Bentley 23. Lachlan Coote 24. Matty Costello.
Matt Parcell returns after his two match ban. He replaces Tui Lolohea who is representing Tonga at the weekend. Both Jack Walker and Ash Handley are named as they are being given as much time to prove their fitness.
Leeds Rhinos 19-man squad: 1. Jack Walker 2. Tom Briscoe 3. Kallum Watkins 4. Konrad Hurrell 5. Ash Handley 7. Richie Myler 8. Adam Cuthbertson 9. Matt Parcell 10. Brad Singleton 11. Trent Merrin 14. Brad Dwyer 15. Liam Sutcliffe 16. Brett Ferres 19. Mikolaj Oledzki 22. Cameron Smith 25. James Donaldson 29. Harry Newman 36. Wellington Albert 38. Ava Seumanufagai
HEAD TO HEAD
This is the Rhinos second visit to the Totally Wicked stadium this season in as they faced each other in one of the games of the 2019. Leeds looked to have provided a shock earlier in the season as they were 22-10 ahead at half time but Saints fought back and score 17 unanswered points to win the game 27-22.
Mark Percival (St Helens) v Harry Newman (Leeds Rhinos)
There has been one shining light so far in Leeds’ season and that is the performances of young centre Harry Newman. Kallum Watkins is leaving for Australia at the end of the month but they are healthy in the centre positions with Konrad Hurrell vacating the other centre berth. The England Academy international will relish coming up against an international centre like Mark Percival.
Percival in my opinion hasn’t hit the heights of previous seasons. That’s not knocking him as his performances in the last few seasons have been one of their star performers while this season he has been outshone by the likes of Coote, Fages and Lomax. While Wayne Bennett is in the country he will want to put on a show and prove to the Great Britain coach that he should start for the Lions in the upcoming test series.
THE IMPORTANT DETAILS
Venue: The Totally Wicked Stadium
Referee: Chris Kendall
WHO WILL WIN?
I think Saints are going to add to the misery with quite a comfortable victory. St Helens by 20.