Super League: St Helens v Leeds Rhinos preview
Last Updated: 28/03/14 7:51pm
Table-topping St Helens welcome in-form Leeds Rhinos to Langtree Park on Friday in a mouth-watering clash, live on Sky Sports 1HD.
Saints maintained their 100 per cent start to the season thanks to their second-half comeback at Wakefield last weekend after Leeds, who are unbeaten themselves, brushed aside London Broncos on Friday night.
Leeds triumphed in two of the three meetings last season; they ran out 20-12 winners at Saints before losing at home 30-22 in the return fixture, although the Rhinos had the final say courtesy of an 11-10 play-off success.
St Helens might be top right now, but a string of injuries to key personnel has hurt their hopes of making it a perfect seven in 2014.
Head coach Nathan Brown is without play-maker Luke Walsh due to a calf strain. The Australian half-back had been in scintillating form prior to picking up an injury in the fixture against Catalan Dragons.
The home side are also without centre Jordan Turner while Kyle Amor, Jon Wilkin and Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook are all suspended. Youngsters Andre Savelio and Lewis Charnock are promoted to Saints' 19-man squad.
"Any coach would want to play with their best players and to be honest I would like to face a full strength Leeds team this week. Those games are good to watch and are a good challenge," Brown told the club's official website.
"We have confidence in the squad; they found a way to win at the weekend and we are confident we have a good shot whatever side we put out. Playing Leeds will be a real step up for our young forwards and give us an indication of their improvement from last year."
McDermott, in contrast, is able to welcome back skipper Kevin Sinfield, forwards Jamie Peacock and Brett Delaney and also centre Joel Moon.
Experienced duo Sinfield and Peacock were rested against the Broncos at Headingley while Moon and Delaney should shake off knocks in time to face Saints.
Close-season signing Tom Briscoe also returns, but he has the task of displacing either Ryan Hall or Ben-Jones Bishop on the wings. Chris Clarkson and Ryan Bailey miss out on the 19-man party.
"I am looking forward to it and I know all the boys are," Delaney told the Yorkshire Evening Post. "It will be a good test for us to see where we are at.
"We have been building, but this is a game when we've got to show what we are made of. They are playing well and they haven't lost, neither have we, so hopefully we can get a good performance on Friday night and get a win."
St Helens: Lomax, Makinson, Jones, Swift, Hohaia, Masoe, Roby, Soliola, Laffranchi, Flanagan, Wellens, Percival, Greenwood, Wheeler, Walker, Dawson, Richards, Charnock, Savelio.
Leeds Rhinos: Hardaker, Jones-Bishop, Watkins, Moon, Hall, McGuire, Burrow, Leuluai, P. Aiton, Peacock, Jones-Buchanan, Ablett, Sinfield, Ward, Delaney, Kirke, Achurch, Briscoe, Singleton.
Watch all the action on Sky Sports HD1 from Langtree Park as St Helens battle Leeds Rhinos from 7.30pm
First Utility Super League
Thu 16th Apr
Wigan Warriors30 - 20Warrington Wolves
Fri 17th Apr
St Helens16 - 41Leeds Rhinos
Sun 19th Apr
Huddersfield Giants38 - 14Catalans Dragons
Widnes Vikings46 - 16Castleford Tigers
Thu 23rd Apr
Wakefield WildcatsvsWigan Warriors
Fri 24th Apr
Hull FC0 - 0Huddersfield Giants
Leeds RhinosvsWarrington Wolves
St Helens0 - 0Widnes Vikings
Sat 25th Apr
Catalans DragonsvsHull K R
Sun 26th Apr
Salford Red Devils0 - 0Castleford Tigers
Thu 30th Apr
Huddersfield GiantsvsLeeds Rhinos
Fri 1st May
Hull FC0 - 0Salford Red Devils
St Helens0 - 0Wakefield Wildcats
Wigan Warriors0 - 0Hull K R
Sun 3rd May
Warrington Wolves0 - 0Widnes Vikings
Castleford Tigers0 - 0Catalans Dragons
Thu 7th May
Hull K RvsWakefield Wildcats
Fri 8th May
Salford Red Devils0 - 0Huddersfield Giants
Wigan Warriors0 - 0Castleford Tigers
Sat 9th May
Catalans DragonsvsSt Helens
Sun 10th May
Warrington Wolves0 - 0Hull FC
Widnes Vikings0 - 0Leeds Rhinos
Thu 21st May
Castleford TigersvsHuddersfield Giants
Fri 22nd May
Hull FC0 - 0St Helens
Leeds Rhinos0 - 0Hull K R
Salford Red Devils0 - 0Warrington Wolves
Sat 23rd May
Catalans DragonsvsWigan Warriors
Sun 24th May
Wakefield Wildcats0 - 0Widnes Vikings
Sat 30th May
Salford Red Devils0 - 0Widnes Vikings
Hull FC0 - 0Hull K R
Leeds Rhinos0 - 0Wigan Warriors
Sun 31st May
Catalans Dragons0 - 0Huddersfield Giants
St Helens0 - 0Warrington Wolves
Castleford Tigers0 - 0Wakefield Wildcats
Thu 4th Jun
Widnes VikingsvsHull FC
Fri 5th Jun
St Helens0 - 0Salford Red Devils
Sun 7th Jun
Huddersfield Giants0 - 0Wigan Warriors
Hull K R0 - 0Castleford Tigers
Wakefield Wildcats0 - 0Leeds Rhinos
Warrington Wolves0 - 0Catalans Dragons
Thu 11th Jun
Leeds RhinosvsCastleford Tigers
Fri 12th Jun
St HelensvsWigan Warriors
Sat 13th Jun
Catalans DragonsvsHull FC
Sun 14th Jun
Huddersfield Giants0 - 0Warrington Wolves
Hull K R0 - 0Widnes Vikings
Wakefield Wildcats0 - 0Salford Red Devils
Thu 18th Jun
Castleford TigersvsSt Helens
Super League 2014, round seven
Bradford coach Francis Cummins refused to blame another week of off-field headlines for his side's defeat at Widnes
Paul Anderson admitted his side only have themselves to blame after blowing a 14-4 lead to lose 33-14 to Warrington.
Hull KR won successive Super League games for the first time since July with a commanding 44-6 victory over Wakefield.
- Wolves chase down Giants
- Widnes edge plucky Bradford
- Cunningham: One of our best
- Wane: We were below par
- Hull enjoy Salford stroll
- Tommy guns down Rhinos
- Rovers v Wildcats: Teams
- Vikings v Bulls: Teams
- Giants v Wolves: Teams
- Shenton 'back to his best'
- Broncos hammered again
- Roby: Wellens a role model
- Hull FC v Red Devils: Teams
- Warriors v Dragons: Teams
- Powell up for Broncos battle
- Cockayne grounded after win
- McDermott happy to rest stars
- Broncos v Tigers: Teams
- Saints pair miss Leeds clash
- Ellis wants winning mentality
- Official procedures
- Saints pair facing suspension
- Brown: Rhinos team to beat