Super League preview: Leeds Rhinos v Widnes Vikings
Last Updated: 13/03/14 2:41pm
Two unbeaten Super League clubs meet at Headingley Carnegie on Friday as Leeds Rhinos host ever-improving Widnes Vikings.
The Rhinos dropped their first point of the new season following their 12-12 draw with Huddersfield Giants last time out while the Vikings' win over Salford maintained their perfect record three games in.
Brian McDermott's men did the double over Widnes last season, after following up their 52-36 away win with a hard-fought 38-28 on home soil while Widnes' trip to Leeds will be their first away match of the campaign.
Leeds have added utility back Ben Jones-Bishop and prop Ryan Bailey to the team that drew against the Giants. England Knights winger Jones-Bishop has yet to play for the Rhinos this season and had been linked with a loan move.
Second-rowers Brett Delaney and Carl Ablett have both shaken off injuries sustained in that match, with the latter set to make his 200th appearance for the club.
Leeds' fit-again Stevie Ward knows Denis Betts' Vikings will be no pushovers on Friday night, telling the YEP: "They gave Salford a really good game last week and came away with a win and it's going to be a really testing game.
"Widnes always are, they are always tough and this year they're looking like they've got even better. It's going to be a tough one, but it'll be good to be at home and hopefully we can get a solid performance out."
Widnes coach Denis Betts has recalled fit-again three-quarters Patrick Ah Van and Cameron Phelps as well as forwards Ben Kavanagh and Rhodri Lloyd, with Stef Marsh, Phil Joseph and Paul Johnson dropping out of the squad with minor injuries.
"We are used to playing here at the Select Security Stadium but we go to Leeds and we will get a fast surface and a team who has the most line breaks in the competition," Betts told the club's official website.
"When you look at their backline the challenge for us is there for all to see. Watkins, Hall, Briscoe, Hardaker, McGuire, Burrow and Sinfield. It's a pretty daunting back line but this is what it's about for us - facing players of that quality."
Leeds Rhinos: Hardaker, Jones-Bishop, Watkins, Moon, Hall, McGuire, Burrow, Leuluai, Aiton, Peacock, Jones-Buchanan, Ablett, Sinfield, Ward, Delaney, Bailey, Achurch, Briscoe, Singleton.
Widnes Vikings: Ah Van, Brown, Clarke, Clough, Craven, Dean, Flynn, Galea, Gerrard, Hanbury, Isa, Kavanagh, Leuluai, Lloyd, Mellor, Owens, Phelps, Tickle, White.