Huddersfield Giants host Leeds Rhinos a fortnight after beating fellow strugglers Hull KR to move ahead in the fight for survival, which continues at the John Smith’s Stadium on Friday night.
TEAM FORM GUIDE
Having lost their previous three matches, the Giants have won two of their last three, with a tremendous 12-18 triumph over Hull Kingston Rovers at KCOM Craven Park.
A fortnight before then, Huddersfield battered Salford 18-36 and have now won their last two away games. Their home form, however, is appalling. They haven’t won at the John Smith’s since May.
Having lost their last two matches on home soil, Leeds will be looking forward to being on the road again as, last time they went on their travels, the Rhinos produced a stunning performance against Castleford, winning 10-18.
However, four defeats from their last six matches leave them precariously placed above Hull KR and London at the foot of the table on points difference alone.
Jermaine McGillvary is in line to make his 300th career appearance on Friday – 241 have come for the Giants.
Oliver Roberts and Oliver Russell return at back row and half-back, with Simon Woolford seeing Tom Holmes and Seb Ikahihifo drop out of his side.
Huddersfield Giants squad: McIntosh, McGillvary, Gaskell, Frawley, Leeming, Matagi, Murphy, Mellor, Lawrence, O’Brien, Roberts, Ta’ai, English, Wardle, Russell, Walne, L. Senior, I. Senior, Wilson
Callum McLelland misses out as Richie Myler returns for Leeds Rhinos at half back following suspension.
Winger Ash Handley could make his 100th Rhinos appearance.
Leeds Rhinos squad: Walker, Briscoe, Hurrell, Handley, Myler, Cuthbertson, Singleton, Merrin, Dwyer, Sutcliffe, Ferres, Peteru, Smith, Donaldson, Newman, Seumanufagai, Lunt, Lui, Martin
HEAD TO HEAD
The two sides met in one of Super League’s most famous games in 2015, which saw Ryan Hall sprint 50 metres to hand Leeds the League Leader’s Shield in the final seconds.
As for this season’s clash, it could not be more different – a ‘four-pointer’ at the other end of the table – Leeds are joint-bottom with Hull KR and London Broncos on 16 points while Giants are just two points and two places ahead of their Yorkshire arch-rivals.
Leeds beat the Giants 38-18 back in April, with Tuimoala Lolohea, James Donaldson, Brad Dwyer, Richie Myler, Tom Briscoe, Ash Handley all crossing for the hosts, while Akuila Uate, Adam O’Brien, Darnell McIntosh gave brief light to a disappointing display from Huddersfield.
Jermaine McGillvary vs Tom Briscoe
Both wingers are crucial to their side’s chances of winning any Super League game, let only the most important of the season to date. McGillvary will be looking to mark his 300th career appearance with a match-winning display, whereas Briscoe will be determined to continue his impressive form following his two tries against old club Hull FC last time out. Both teams are desperate for the win, so will McGillvary’s power and strength be too much for the visiting defence, or will Briscoe’s agility and flair prevail?
THE IMPORTANT DETAILS
Date: August 2nd 2019
Venue: John Smith’s Stadium
Kick-off: 19:45 GMT
Referee: Robert Hicks
WHO WILL WIN?
This is the biggest game of both teams’ seasons. Arguably, for some young players, the most important of their careers. It’s all about handling the pressure of the occasion and Huddersfield have definitely been the better at doing so. They beat fellow fighters Hull KR away from home, whereas Leeds fell to defeat against them on home turf. For this reason alone, I don’t see the Rhinos having a chance – Giants to win: 22-10.