Thursday night’s game wil see Castleford Tigers travel to Headingley to face Leeds Rhinos. Here’s everything you need to know.
TEAM FORM GUIDE
After suffering a shock defeat to bitter rivals Bradford in the Challenge Cup last weekend, the Rhinos will be hoping they don’t lose to two massive rivals in the space of a week. The Rhinos are in dreadful form and having sacked head coach David Furner, it will be up to interim boss Richard Agar to sort the side out.
Castleford were soundly beaten by Hull FC in the Challenge Cup at the weekend and they can now put their full attention on the league, where they still have some catching up to do. The Tigers are currently in 7th place but only two points behind third-placed Wakefield. Their record this season is seven wins and seven defeats, something head coach Daryl Powell will be looking to improve on.
Brad Singleton, Richie Myler and James Donaldson all return to the squad having missed last week’s defeat at Odsal. Ash Golding keeps his place after being 18th man at Bradford.
However, centre Konrad Hurrell will miss the game through a hamstring injury. Wellington Albert also drops out.
Leeds 19-man squad: Briscoe, Watkins, Handley, Lolohea, Myler, Cuthbertson, Parcell, Singleton, Merrin, Dwyer, Sutcliffe, Peteru, Oledzki, Golding, Smith, McLelland, Donaldson, Newman, Seumanufagai
Daryl Powell has made four changes to his 19 man squad that were knocked out of the Challenge Cup.
Paul McShane, Grant Millington, Greg Eden and young player Brad Jinks all return for the Tigers.
Chris Clarkson, Will Maher, Jacques O’Neill and Calum Turner make way for their returns.
Castleford 19-man squad: Aston, Blair, Clare, Clark, Cook, Eden, Egodo, Jinks, Massey, Mata’utia, McMeeken, McShane, Millington, Milner, Minikin, Rankin, Sene-Lefao, Trueman, Watts
HEAD TO HEAD
The earlier meeting at Headingley was a contender for game of the season. A hard fought battle ended when hooker Brad Dwyer sensationally kicked over a drop goal after the game went to Golden Point.
That result ended the Tigers run of eleven straight league wins against the Rhinos.
Brad Dwyer (Leeds) v Paul McShane (Castleford)
Paul McShane is considered to be among the pack for this season’s Man of Steel award. Since Luke Gale’s injury, he has been the go-to man for the Tigers and is essential to their success.
Brad Dwyer has quickly emerged as a vital part of the Rhinos team. David Furner was starting the former Warrington hooker over Matt Parcell. He is also one of the few players in the Leeds side to find form this season.
The victory on Thursday night will likely be decided by one of these two.
THE IMPORTANT DETAILS
Date: Thursday 16th May
Venue: Emerald Headingley Stadium
Referee: Chris Kendall
WHO WILL WIN?
If this Rhinos side could not get motivated for a cup game against Bradford, then they will surely be no match for a strong Tigers side. Tigers win 34-18.