Super League: Leeds Rhinos v Huddersfield Giants preview
Last Updated: 12/06/14 1:50pm
Leeds Rhinos will be out to end their poor run of form against Huddersfield Giants when the sides meet at Headingley on Thursday night.
The Giants won all three meetings between the sides last season while Leeds also failed to win at the John Smith’s Stadium in May when the points were shared following a 12-all draw.
Huddersfield were not in action last weekend having been knocked out of the Tetley's Challenge Cup, although they secured a 31-22 success over reigning league champions Wigan in their previous outing.
Leeds were made to sweat before eventually securing a hard-fought 25-12 triumph over high-flying Leigh Centurions in the Challenge Cup last Thursday, putting them just one win away from a trip to Wembley.
Victory over the Giants will see Leeds return to the top of the table, albeit for possibly only 48 hours prior to St Helens’ clash against Catalan Dragons in the south of France on Saturday.
Leeds head coach Brian McDermott is without full-back Zak Hardaker due to a five-game suspension, however veteran forward Jamie Peacock is available after escaping suspension, but was fined for punching Leigh forward Matt Sarsfield in last weekend's Challenge Cup.
Departing Ben Jones-Bishop is likely to fill in at the back if Hardaker is suspended. Carl Ablett remains suspended while Paul Aiton, Rob Burrow, Jamie Jones-Buchanan, Mitch Achurch are injury casualties.
Rhinos skipper Kevin Sinfield insists their victory over the Centurions took a lot out of the team and he knows Leeds will need to be back to their best to topple the Giants.
"On Thursday we are coming up against a very good team. We got a draw against them earlier in the year, but they had beaten us the five times before that and I think they are playing better than the table suggests."
“Emotionally and physically we had to put a lot in last Friday. It was Leigh’s cup final,” he told the Yorkshire Evening Post.
“We worked really hard last week trying to fix things up from the Warrington game the week before and that probably took away some of our vigour.
“On Thursday we are coming up against a very good team. We got a draw against them earlier in the year, but they had beaten us the five times before that and I think they are playing better than the table suggests.”
Giants head coach Paul Anderson has made two changes to his 19-man squad for their short trip along the M62.
Former Leeds loanee Shaun Lunt - a Grand Final winner during his time with the Rhinos - is replaced by Craig Kopczak while ex-Salford winger Jodie Broughton replaces Ben Blackmore, who is now with Featherstone Rovers.
“The week off has allowed a few people to get over a couple of little knocks and be fully prepared for what will be a tough test against Leeds. We’ll be fresh and I’m sure that will give us a slight edge,” winger Aaron Murphy told the club’s official website.
“They have loads of great players and obviously we’ve seen them enough times to know what will be coming our way and we feel fully prepared. The game against them earlier on this season was interesting so hopefully we can produce the same performance again but get the win this time.”
Leeds Rhinos: Jones-Bishop, Watkins, Moon, Hall, McGuire, Leuluai, Peacock, Sinfield, S. Ward, Delaney, Bailey, Kirke, Clarkson, Briscoe, Sutcliffe, Singleton, Walters, R. Ward, TBC.
Huddersfield Giants: Grix, McGillvary, Cudjoe, Wardle, Murphy, Brough, Robinson, Crabtree, Kopczak, Ferres, Chan, Bailey, Lawrence, Patrick, Faiumu, Ta'ai, Wood, Broughton, Johnson.
Watch Leeds take on Huddersfield live on Sky Sports 2 at 8pm on Thursday evening.
First Utility Super League
Tue 30th Jun
Hull K R34 - 28Salford Red Devils
Wed 1st Jul
Wakefield Wildcats26 - 16Hull FC
Thu 2nd Jul
Warrington Wolves17 - 6Wigan Warriors
Fri 3rd Jul
Leeds Rhinos46 - 18St Helens
Sun 5th Jul
Huddersfield Giants32 - 14Hull K R
Hull FC31 - 24Wakefield Wildcats
Salford Red Devils18 - 14Catalans Dragons
Castleford Tigers34 - 20Widnes Vikings
Thu 9th Jul
Wigan WarriorsvsLeeds Rhinos
Fri 10th Jul
St HelensvsHuddersfield Giants
Sun 12th Jul
Hull FC0 - 0Castleford Tigers
Salford Red Devils0 - 0Hull K R
Wakefield Wildcats0 - 0Warrington Wolves
Widnes Vikings0 - 0Catalans Dragons
Thu 16th Jul
Warrington WolvesvsSt Helens
Fri 17th Jul
Hull K RvsHull FC
Leeds Rhinos0 - 0Salford Red Devils
Wigan Warriors0 - 0Widnes Vikings
Sat 18th Jul
Catalans DragonsvsHuddersfield Giants
Sun 19th Jul
Wakefield Wildcats0 - 0Castleford Tigers
Thu 23rd Jul
Hull FCvsWigan Warriors
Fri 24th Jul
St Helens0 - 0Hull K R
Sun 26th Jul
Huddersfield Giants0 - 0Wakefield Wildcats
Leeds Rhinos0 - 0Catalans Dragons
Widnes Vikings0 - 0Salford Red Devils
Castleford Tigers0 - 0Warrington Wolves
Super League 2014, round 16
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