Super League preview: St. Helens and Wakefield Trinity's unbeaten starts under threat, Catalans Dragons aim for first win of season

Last Updated March 08 2018, 15:49Rugby League
Scott Grix celebrates
Scott Grix celebrates

The Betfred Super League is back on Thursday night as Hull FC's trip to Leeds Rhinos kicks off the weekend's action.

There's two fixtures on Friday as Warrington Wolves take on St. Helens and Widnes Vikings host Huddersfield Giants.

Saturday sees winless Catalans Dragons host Hull KR with both sides sitting in the bottom four.

Sunday's action starts off with Wakefield Trinity's trip to Wigan Warriors as they aim to remain unbeaten whilst Castleford Tigers host Salford Red Devils.

Tom Carnduff takes a look at some of the key points from this round of fixtures...


Rhinos aim for ten in a row against Hull FC

Leeds Rhinos will be looking to secure their tenth consecutive league victory over Hull FC when the two meet at Headingley on Thursday night.

The clash, which is live on Sky Sports, sees fifth come up against sixth with the hosts having extra time off last week after their tie against Catalans was called off due to the snow.

Brian McDermott confirmed on Wednesday that Ashton Golding will start at full-back with Jack Walker returning to the bench. New recruit Brad Dwyer sits out with a rib injury.

The Rhinos are still without Liam Sutcliffe, Adam Cuthbertson, Stevie Ward, Jimmy Keinhorst, Brett Ferres and Nathaniel Peteru who all miss out through injury.

Leeds' Ashton Golding

For Hull, Jack Logan will come into the squad for Bureta Faraimoa. Logan has had a tough 18 months with injuries and will be aiming to make an impact if he’s involved in West Yorkshire.

Prop Chris Green is named in the squad for the game, and is in line for his first Super League appearance of the season on home soil, having missed last week’s game against Warrington following the birth of his baby daughter.

Sky Bet: Kallum Watkins & Ryan Hall both to score a try in the match is Price Boosted to 4/1

Youngsters Jordan Lane, Jack Downs and Masi Matongo are also named in the squad, as Albert Kelly, Danny Houghton and Mickey Paea continue to be sidelined with knocks. Josh Bowden also drops out of the squad.

The Black and Whites will be aiming for their first win at Headingley since 2007, and are priced as the 13/8 outsiders to pick up the two points.

The Rhinos are -6 on the handicap, but four of the last six league meetings between these two sides have been won by less than a six-point margin, with three of those being won by three points or less and it could be another close encounter when they face-off again on Thursday.


Wakefield’s unbeaten run on the line

Chris Chester’s Wakefield Trinity side have enjoyed a terrific start to the season as they sit with St. Helens as the only two sides to remain unbeaten so far.

They face a tough test on Sunday though as they travel to Wigan Warriors, who have lost just one of their four opening games.

Trinity are yet to face a side currently sitting within the top-eight of the standings but have capitalised on the fixture list by securing all points that have been available to them so far.

Chester’s men enjoyed a great result when these two last met, running out 32-0 winners in their clash on the final day of the 2017 season.

Liam Marshall of Wigan
Wigan's Liam Marshall

Trinity were also successful when they last faced off at the DW Stadium. Bill Tupou’s hat-trick was the highlight as Wakefield fought back from 20-0 down within the opening 20 minutes to secure a 30-42 victory.

“The last game of last season is still fresh in our minds,” Wigan’s Willie Isa told their club’s website, “we’re not all about revenge and that sort of stuff but we know that we didn’t finish last season well and Wakefield beat us in that last game.

“We’re looking forward to the game. We’ve started ok but we’ll need to work really hard because Wakefield have improved a lot this last few years, they’re well coached and we’re ready for that challenge”

Shaun Wane’s Warriors side go into this one as the 1/3 favourites, with -10 on the handicap available at 10/11.

Liam Marshall comes into the clash as the top tryscorer out of the two sides. He’s got five so far during the 2018 campaign, including two in their 24-10 victory over Hull in their Super League clash down in Australia.


Wolves look to inflict first defeat on Saints

Warrington Wolves will look to inflict a first defeat of the season on St. Helens when the two sides meet on Friday.

The clash, which is live on Sky Sports, will see Saints aim to make it five from five after a commanding start to the 2018 season

For the Wolves, Kevin Brown returns having missed a week with concussion. Bryson Goodwin took a knock to his knee against Hull but is in contention having trained this week.

Declan Patton of Warrington
Warrington Wolves' Declan Patton

Harvey Livett also comes into the mix. Declan Patton and Sitaleki Akauola are out through suspension with Patton being dealt a five-game ban for a high-tackle in last week’s defeat to Hull FC.

Justin Holbrook has made just one change to his St. Helens side, with Matty Lees coming in for Jon Wilkin, who misses the game after suffering a head knock in Sunday’s comprehensive victory over Salford Red Devils.

Steve Price’s Warrington side are looking for three wins on the bounce against St. Helens at home. They hammered the Saints 40-18 when the two sides last met at the Halliwell Jones Stadium.

Saints come into this one as the 1/2 favourites, with Warrington priced at 13/8 despite having home advantage. St Helens –6 on the handicap is 10/11.


Catalans look for first win against Hull KR

Steve McNamara’s Catalans Dragons host Hull KR on Saturday evening looking for their first win of the 2018 season.

The Dragons sit bottom of the standings as the only side who have failed to pick up any points so far.

The travelling KR have won just one of their opening four fixtures, that coming in the win when these sides last met in the league just three weeks ago.

Despite their tough start to the season, Catalans go into the game, which is live on Sky Sports, as the 2/5 favourites with Hull KR outsiders at 2/1.

David Mead joins Catalans Dragons
David Mead: joined Catalans Dragons from Brisbane Broncos in the off-season

Both of these sides have had extra time off after their games were postponed last week due to the bad weather which battered most of the United Kingdom.

McNamara’s men have found tries difficult to come by so far, scoring just seven in the 42 points they’ve managed to register this season.

Hull KR boast more tries than both of last season’s Grand Finalists in Leeds Rhinos and Castleford Tigers, but a defence that has seen them concede 88 points leaves them outside of the top-eight at this early stage in the season.

Catalans have been relatively error free in comparison with the rest of the league, with just four sides posting less errors so far this season.

Whichever way this one goes, it’ll be two vital early points for the side that picks them up.

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