Hull KR a confident pick

  • By: Ian Millward
  • Last Updated: July 17 2014, 17:17 BST

Super League and Challenge Cup-winning coach Ian Millward brings you his game-by-game preview of this week's action.

Huddersfield should brush Bradford aside
Huddersfield should brush Bradford aside

Leeds v Castleford (+10) - Thursday, 2000 BST

The return of Zak Hardaker is a massive boost for the Rhinos. He gives their back three a much more dynamic look and has been sorely missed. However, Castleford go to Headingley full of confidence and playing well. It's a fixture their players and fans always look forward to and looking at their pack, I think they can go to their neighbours and be more than compete down the middle. I think this will be tighter than a 10-point ball game and therefore it has to be the Tigers.

Widnes (+16) v Warrington - Friday 2000 BST

Warrington are in fantastic form and a lot of that comes down to some very astute coaching from Tony Smith. He knew he had to restructure his side and in recent years they have faded in the closing weeks of a campaign. This time they are getting stronger by the round and are on a real roll. In contrast, Widnes have won one of their last five and I can't see anything other than a big Warrington victory, especially with Ryan Atkins back in contention.

Wigan v Hull (+16) - Friday 2000 BST

Hull are a very big club but their 2014 side is really struggling for consistency with players not performing to their potential week in, week out. Young hooker James Cunningham could be thrown in here which would be a tough call against a Wigan side that did a real number on Catalan last week. Matty Bowen is missing, which is a blow, but I still think they will be too good for the visitors and win well.

London (+32) v St Helens - Saturday 1500 BST

We went through a spell recently where it looked like London could be about to get a win on the board - but the wait goes on. They've been a good team for punters this season though, often covering with huge starts and 32 may be enough here too. It's not a question of who wins - that will be Saints - but by how many? And with thunderstorms in the forecast and the home side desperate to play for pride, they may stay within the handicap.

Catalan v Wakefield (+12) - Saturday 1700 BST

The Wildcats have won their last five but could be heading into very warm conditions over in France. The Dragons will be desperate to avenge a 54-16 defeat to Wakefield from earlier in the season and, with Sam Williams settling into their side, can do just that. I think the home side's big pack will be the key to victory here and James Webster's dream start at the helm of Wakefield could come to an end. Catalans to win and cover.

Huddersfield v Bradford (+16) - Sunday 1500 BST

I make the Giants one of the better bets of the weekend. These two have clashed twice before this season with Huddersfield comfortably winning both times. Each was a high-scoring encounter, with 70 and 84 points registered respectively, and expect plenty of tries again. The Giants are looking to hit back from two defeats, where the absence of key men has been a major contributory factor, but I think they'll have too much for the Bulls.

Hull KR v Salford (+2) - Sunday 1500 BST

These two sides drew in the reverse fixture. Salford have been showing signs of becoming more consistent over the last few weeks but their form on the road has been patchy all year. Hull KR have a new coach and he can point to a big win over St Helens and a very good display at Leeds in his two games so far. I think Rovers match Salford at hooker and in the halves, plus they have the edge elsewhere, so I'm confident they can win and cover.

NRL

Broncos v Warriors (+2) - Saturday 1030 BST

The Warriors are the form team in the competition at the moment, winning four of their last five. They have some outstanding players and Sam Tomkins is just starting to hit top form. However, he has been a doubt with a hip problem for this one and Brisbane make plenty of appeal. Their coach is under intense pressure at the moment and this is very much a make-or-break game for their season. It's do-or-die for the Broncos and I think they can deliver.

Knights v Titans (+12) - Sunday 0500 BST

This will be a very emotional day with the match the centrepiece of the Rise For Alex round, a charity event for Knights forward Alex McKinnon who suffered a serious neck injury earlier in the year. Most expect the home side, on the back of such emotion, to blow the Titans away but the visitors are a team who are good at hanging in matches, their Origin players are back and I wouldn't be at all surprised to see them cover.

  • Posted at 1715 BST on 17/07/2014.