Rhinos' strength in depth to shine

  • By: Ian Millward
  • Last Updated: July 31 2014, 22:08 BST

Former Super League winner Ian Millward previews Friday evening's matches with Leeds backed for a big win.

Ryan Hall: One of the Leeds players to sit out Friday's game
Ryan Hall: One of the Leeds players to sit out Friday's game

Wigan v Salford (+12) - Thursday 2000 BST I'm really keen on Wigan here. They have a great history at bouncing back from shock losses and also have the excitement of Joel Tomkins' return to the club after his spell in union. The other thing is the big open spaces of Wigan's ground - they will have too much speed for Salford - the forwards for the Red Devils might find the pace a bit quick in this game. I expect Wigan to win and win comfortably, certainly by enough to cover the start.

Leeds v Bradford (+16) - Friday 2000 BST This is an interesting game. If Leeds were at full strength, then the 16-point start would look like a Christmas present. Leeds won 46-6 at Bradford after all. Having said that, they will be resting a few players with next week's Challenge Cup semi-final with Warrington in mind. Joel Moon, Ryan Hall, Kallum Watkins, Jamie Peacock all won't play, while Kevin Sinfield is on the last match of his suspension. Even so, I can't imagine Bradford being able to back up from last week's win over Wigan and neither can I see Leeds not being competitive at home - they still have plenty of good players with the likes of Zak Hardaker, Danny McGuire, Ben Jones-Bishop etc. I take Leeds to win and cover.

Catalan v Warrington (+4) - Friday 2000 BST I'm keen on Warrington in this game for a few reasons. Warrington have won the last five games between these two, including 42-10 at home earlier this season. Catalans are a different team at home, admittedly, but Warrington have players returning, especially in the forwards where Michael Monaghan is crucial. They have a cup tie coming up next week but Tony Smith wants to give those who have been out injured a run this week in preparation for that clash. He's genuine about this week's game. I do think Warrington will win this so having the start is a bonus.

Hull (+6) v St Helens - Friday 2000 BST These two have had tight games in the recent past. The previous results show two wins for St Helens and two draws - the latter might be an omen for those who like to take the draw. Saints have a few problems with Luke Walsh having broken his leg, Lance Hohaia and Jon Wilkin all out. They will need a new half-back pairing with Gary Wheeler and Jordan Turner taking over. With this in mind, I'm a little bit worried about Saints. They will be fine in the forwards but may be lacking in the halves. Hull have struggled to be consistent though and have no win in their last five. I'll go with Saints to grind out a win and cover but I say that with not much confidence.

  • Preview posted at 1325 BST; updated at 1400 BST on 31/07/2014.