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.
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 five
Tony Rea reflects on the fine form of St Helens and Leeds and a heavy defeat for his London Broncos.
We look at who have been Super League's best and worst so far in the 2014 season.
Castleford full-back Jordan Tansey has been accused of making deliberate contact with a referee.
- Vikings sweat over Mellor
- A Saintly start
- Tigers pounce late once more
- Ruthless Giants blitz Bulls
- Attack pleases Agar
- Wildcats maul Broncos
- Koukash critical of displays
- Brown: Best win yet
- Patient Wolves please Smith
- Perfect Saints sink Dragons
- McDermott hails two-try hero
- Rhinos rip through Vikings
- Three and easy for Wolves
- Bulls v Giants: Teams
- Tigers v Hull FC: Teams
- Broncos v Wildcats: Teams
- Wigan Warriors v Hull KR
- Morley issues rallying cry
- Saints v Dragons: Teams
- Vea to make Broncos debut
- Red Devils v Wolves: Teams
- Warriors v Hull KR: Teams
- Powell may call on Webster
- Wane makes case for defence
- Rapira to miss Wolves clash
- Brown: Saints can improve