Another week of Super League XXVII action begins on Thursday night and it does so with a Yorkshire derby of sorts as the Leeds Rhinos look to build on their first win of the season when they take on Hull FC at Headingley.
Hull have made a slightly better start to the season than their opponents but whether they look as good right now remains to be seen. Leeds will hope last week was the injection of life their campaign needed and will be out to build on that.
Where to watch
The match will be shown live and in full on the Sky Sports Arena channel. The lead up to the action will begin at 7.30pm ahead of an 8pm kick off at Headingley.
After dropping their opening three matches of the season, a couple of them worryingly tamely it would have to be said, the Leeds Rhinos finally got moving in the win column last week when they took an average Wakefield Trinity apart. The damage was done in that match in the first half but whether they would have wanted the score to be as relatively close as it was at full time I’m not sure. It shouldn’t be a concern but after that poor start it is one.
What I liked about Leeds last week was how their attack looks to be moving in the right direction. They had looked a little short of ideas in the two weeks prior to that, so if that was the catalyst for that area of their game to begin to thrive then they certainly have the personnel to go well this term. There are still one or two issues defensively but nothing that can’t be ironed out when they can get a settled side on the park.
Hull FC have opened their season with a couple of wins and a couple of defeats. The first loss can be accounted for as it came against St Helens who are very strong this season but the second one against Castleford Tigers last week is a little more concerning. A win here will largely put that behind them and they will be in positive numbers in the win-loss column but inconsistency was an issue last season and they won’t want it to become a problem this term too.
There is no doubt that there are points in this Hull FC side. We have seen that in the fact that they have put up 74 points in their last two matches, but defensively they have a few issues to iron out, although some of them are also down to rotating personnel due to injuries. If they can tighten up defensively then you would imagine they can launch a play-off push so long as they can keep their discipline within matches, which isn’t the guarantee it should be.
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Leeds Rhinos are going to be without a couple of key players in Kruise Leeming and Cameron Smith as both have picked up bans for indiscretions last week. Harry Newman has suffered a recurrence of a hamstring injury which will keep him out of this one.
Hull FC are without a huge number of players with Jordan Lane and Josh Reynolds picking up injuries in the loss to Castleford last weekend. They join the likes of Luke Gale watching on as he is still suspended. Joe Cator could finally return however.
Ordinarily I would have thought Hull FC would put up a decent fight here but they are without way too many players for my liking. That isn’t always the negative it sounds but when you add in that they played on Sunday and now have to back up without so many players on the Thursday night game I think it is fair to suggest they will be tested strongly here. I’m not convinced on the Leeds Rhinos but they do look to be going in the right direction.
The big problem Hull FC have is in the halves with their regular pairing both missing. In Super League you need a kicking game to lead you around the park and Leeds certainly have that with Blake Austin and Aidan Sezer among the better exponents of that art. Leeds also have their backs contributing strongly and have a mobile and energetic park which can make a jaded Hull FC set of forwards tire the longer the match goes on. With all that factored in I think Leeds can cover 10 points in this one.
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