The next round of matches in the Super League XXVII campaign gets underway on Thursday evening and it does so with a good old Yorkshire derby as Wakefield Trinity go in search of their first points of the campaign when they host the Leeds Rhinos, who are in an identical position.
With golden point separating a level game there is no draw in play here so one of these sides will get their season up and running whereas the other will be winless in four and will see the pressure beginning to build up on them.
Where to watch
The match will be shown live and in full on the Sky Sports Arena channel. The build-up to the action at Belle Vue begins at 7.30pm with the match itself kicking off at 8pm.
No team will want to start a season with no wins from three matches but some such starts are better than the disaster such a record would suggest and I think the Wakefield Trinity one falls into that category. They only lost their opening two matches to Hull FC and Catalans Dragons by four points and two respectively and although they were on the wrong end of a 16pt beating at St Helens last week, that wasn’t exactly a disgrace of an outcome to be fair.
To start against the two teams who competed in the Grand Final and a motivated Hull FC side wasn’t the easiest start to a campaign. To be fair Leeds Rhinos isn’t a whole lot better but there was enough in those first three games to suggest that the Trinity can get wins on the board when the softer fixtures come along. They kept three pretty powerful offensive units to a combined 60 points so if they can tidy up their set plays and convert pressure on the opposition line wins will come along.
Leeds Rhinos have played three and lost three themselves but they could easily argue that matches against Warrington Wolves, Wigan Warriors and the Catalans Dragons hasn’t been much kinder for them. They were blown away by the Warriors in that second game but in their two home matches they were downed by two points and six. The losses were one thing but in all three of their outings so far they have seemed to run short on ideas in attacking situations quite quickly.
You wouldn’t really be able to say that they are going well defensively either. I think the score flattered them in both their home matches and the other issue for the Rhinos is even this early in the season injuries and suspensions are beginning to mount up. You sense the time where something is going to give for Leeds is fast approaching so those in key positions really could do with a win pretty soon, ideally here.
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Mason Lino is back in the Wakefield Trinity squad to reunite in the halves with Jacob Miller and offer a much stronger attacking threat for the home side. They will be without Tom Lineham though as he picked up an injury in the defeat to St Helens last week.
Leeds are expected to welcome a trio of players back for this match. David Fusitu’a is definitely back having recovered from the concussion which has kept him out since the opening week. Rhyse Martin has returned from compassionate leave too while Harry Newman could play his first match of the season. Ritchie Myler is among those on the sidelines.
Leeds Rhinos have a decent enough record at Wakefield Trinity and with one or two key players back I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see them pick up a first win here but I’m in no rush to back them at present. Their attacking play needs a lot of improvement and while the return of David Fusitu’a will certainly help with that, he is opposing one of the best wingers in the competition so he isn’t guaranteed to have things all his own way which means Leeds may still need to come up with some magic which just hasn’t been there so far this season.
Wakefield have kept a tasty St Helens side to 20 points last week so defensively we know their structure is good and if they can impose themselves on a weaker Leeds defence then there is a chance Trinity get their first win of the campaign. I am expecting a pretty close match however this one ends because of the need of both to get off the mark for the season. If you forced me to pick a winner I’d go with Leeds but I don’t see them covering eight points at present. I’ll take the home side with that advantage.
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