Jack Harbidge takes a look at the Super League Round 3 Previews and Predictions.
Leeds Rhinos Vs Wigan Warriors
Venue: Emerald Headingley Stadium
Kick-off: Thursday 16th April, 19:45 GMT
Last Five Results: Leeds 26-12 Wigan (03/10/20), Wigan 28-10 Leeds (16/08/20), Leeds 14-23 Wigan (14/06/19), Wigan 34-16 Leeds (08/02/19), Wigan 46-8 Leeds (28/06/18).
Leeds Rhinos host Wigan Warriors at Emerald Headingley Stadium on Thursday night.
Kyle Eastmond is included in the Leeds Rhinos 21-man squad and is set to make his debut for the home side with Richard Agar’s hand being forced by a long list of injured play-makers. Eastmond last played in Super League in July 2011 for St Helens and will look to return with aplomb in the place of the mainstays Richie Myler, Rob Lui, and Luke Gale, after a 10 year hiatus.
In contrast to Leeds, Wigan have spent some time dealing with injuries and are now reaping the rewards of returning players bolstering their squad. The most influencial of which, Bevan French, returns for the visitors and will look to re-visit the form that saw him score 17 tries in 21 games last season.
Leeds come into the game off the back of a valiant loss to St Helens in the Challenge Cup that saw Rhyse Martin and Cameron Smith as their half-back pairing. While they will have a little more direction and flair with Eastmond coming into the squad for his first start, Leeds have been lacking through the middle so far this season and with Zane Tetevano set to miss four games after his sending off in the Challenge Cup their problems are not getting any better.
Wigan, on the other hand, get back French and come into this unbeaten, off the back of shutting out York City Knights in the Challenge Cup. To add to Leeds’ injury woes, Wigan have an historical advantage over the Rhinos in recent years, winning four of the last five encounters between the two sides – of which three were by 8 points or more.
Wigan are fair favorites for the game and it is a major shame that fans watching on from home won’t be treated to anywhere near a full-strength Leeds team taking them on. Given the player outs for the home side it is hard to see how Wigan will not dominate the battle in the forwards, so we should see their capable finishers take advantage and help chalk up a Warriors win against a spirited Rhinos side.