Jack Walker previews the clash between Hull FC and Warrington Wolves – the winner will move level on points with second-placed Leeds.
Marc Sneyd’s boot won a dramatic 26-27 contest against Wakefield Trinity in FC’s last game.
Tries from Fonua, Shaul, Buchanan and Kelly kept the away side in the contest before the reliable Sneyd did what he does best and came up trumps to get the win.
Warrington won an equally close encounter Friday, beating Castleford Tigers 9-8 in a real grudge match.
Tom Lineham’s solitary try and Stefan Ratchford’s two kicks were enough to build a platform for Blake Austin’s drop goal to grab the two points.
Ligi Sao is unavailable after being given a one-match ban for the prop’s involvement in an incident against Wakefield last time out.
To make things worse, Manu Ma’u picked up a head knock in the same match and concussion protocols means he cannot face Warrington.
Hull FC squad: Shaul, Tuimavave, Griffin, Sneyd, Taylor, Houghton, Satae, Jones, Kelly, Johnstone, Matongo, Fash, Lane, Bowden, Fonua, Wynne, Buchanan, Ellis, Brown, Patterson Lund, Graham
The Wolves have recalled Anthony Gelling to their squad for Thursday’s trip to Hull FC.
Gelling, who plays as a centre, was suspended by the club following his arrest in Widnes last month and has missed Wire’s past four Super League matches.
Warrington Wolves squad: Akauola, Austin, Brand, Burrell, Charnley, D Clark, J Clark, Cooper, Currie, Davis, Doro, Gelling, Hill, King, Lineham, Mamo, Murdoch-Masila, Philbin, Ratchford, Walker, Widdop.
KEY STAT – LAST SEASON’S CHALLENGE CUP SEMI FINAL
Warrington 22-14 Hull
Hull’s error-strewn performance in last season’s Challenge Cup semi final meeting saw Warrington move onto the showpiece occasion, but Radford’s side will have taken many positives from defeat as, without said mistakes, they would have walked to Wembley.
Defensive mistakes gifted Bryson Goodwin the opener and Joe Philbin the winner as Ben Currie and Toby King also scored for the Wolves, with Bureta Faraimo and Scott Taylor both crossing for FC at the University of Bolton Stadium.
BATTLE TO WATCH
Marc Sneyd vs Stefan Ratchford
Both men are prolific with the boot – proven in the sides’ previous matches – and are equally inept when it comes to crossing the whitewash.
Whilst Sneyd may rack up a higher number of kicking points, he sometimes lacks the skill and style that Ratchford brings so brilliantly to the fore in big games, so this is where Hull’s number seven will have to be at his best.
All games are won by much more than just one player, but tonight’s result may well boil down to who keeps their nerve and steps up to the plate. It should be a great battle and I, for one, am looking forward to it.
Date: Thursday 12th March 2020
Venue: KCOM Stadium
Kick-off: 19:45 GMT