Team news and views since relegation struggles orgasm and the play-off ahead of Friday Super League games.
Richard Agar considers Leeds Rhinos still have improvements to make after sealing their place in Super League for 2020.
Last Sunday’s 36-10 win off to London Broncos means the Rhinos are just four points clear at the side using 2 matches of the season using a points difference to the sides near the foot of this table and staying.
Head coach Agar is in no doubt that his side can generate a better display when Salford Red Devils and Headingley on Friday day see, however is happy they’ve got themselves into a place.
« Performance-wise there is a great deal to improve , but commitment and defensive effort I thought was magnificent, » Agar said.
« We said pulling it together wasn’t likely to become an overnight fix, two or three chances missed and everyone else has won games to keep it a struggle.
« I know mathematically we are not safe but it is a reasonable old swing with two matches and two additional teams fighting each other. »
Agar has appointed an squad for the game with Salford, who are on a streak of six wins in Super League.
Red Devils head coach Ian Watson brings George Griffin back into the squad after his return from injury and Josh Wood is remembered to the 19.
Salford have now been given a further boost with the news mid-season recruit Josh Johnson has agreed a contract with the team for 2020.
« Josh has already added a touch of grit into our pack and bought to the work ethic of the team, » Watson said.
« We had to move fast to secure his services next year, following his energetic performances captured the eyes of other Super League clubs.
« He is happy to be remaining with us and I am certain he’ll continue to improve and be a precious registering »
Leeds Rhinos 19-man squad: Jack Walker, Konrad Hurrell, Ash Handley, Richie Myler, Adam Cuthbertson, Trent Merrin, Brad Dwyer, Liam Sutcliffe, Brett Ferres, Mikolaj Oledzki, Jamie Jones-Buchanan, Cameron Smith, Luke Briscoe, James Donaldson, Harry Newman, Ava Seumanufagai, Shaun Lunt, Robert Lui, Rhyse Martin
Salford Red Devils 19-man squad: Niall Evalds, Kris Welham, Jake Bibby, Lee Mossop, Josh Wood, Gil Dudson, Josh Jones, George Griffin, Mark Flanagan, Joey Lussick, Adam Walker, Greg Burke, Tyrone McCarthy, Logan Tomkins, Ken Sio, Krisnan Inu, Tui Lolohea, Jackson Hastings, Josh Johnson
Finishing an unbeaten season on their home spot is your purpose of St Helens on Friday night when they advised Huddersfield Giants to Entirely Wicked Stadium.
The League Leaders’ Shield winners’ three defeats throughout the Super League regular season have come using their home ground.
Saints haven’t completed an unbeaten stretch in the home since 2002, when they moved on to win the Grand Final, and head trainer Justin Holbrook knows his side should be on their guard against a Giants side that eased their relegation fears with a 22-12 win away to Hull FC a week.
« We’ve been terrific there every week this year and we want to maintain that, » Holbrook said. « We have got to play well to beat Huddersfield on Friday.
« This was a good win for them a week. They’re not in a fantastic place in the table, but they’ve shown to win and go at Hull they have got a side »
After missing Friday’s 4-0 win at home Great Britain call-up Lachlan Coote and dominique Peyroux possibly reunite.
Giants head coach Simon Woolford is without Matt Frawley due to trauma, so Tom Holmes comes back into their squad at his or her place. Adam Walne replenishes Aaron Murphy .
Although the win over Hull put them in a place huddersfield are still not protected from the threat of relegation.
« It depends on additional games and other outcomes, but it has certainly helped our cause, » Woolford said. « It has been a challenging year for quite a few reasons and those few wins have been few and far between.
« We will not be shutting up shop now, there’s still a large task to do and we need to make sure we complete the seasons quite well. »
St Helens 19-man group: Jonny Lomax, Tommy Makinson, Kevin Naiqama, Mark Percival, Regan Grace, Theo Fages, Danny Richardson, Alex Walmsley, James Roby, Luke Thompson, Zeb Taia, Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook, Morgan Knowles, Kyle Amor, Dominique Peyroux, Jack Ashworth, James Bentley, Lachlan Coote, Matty Costello
Huddersfield Giants 19-man team: Darnell McIntosh, Jermaine McGillvary, Lee Gaskell, Paul Clough, Kruise Leeming, Suaia Matagi, Alex Mellor, Michael Lawrence, Adam O’Brien, Ukuma Ta’ai, Jake Wardle, Tom Holmes, Adam Walne, Sebastine Ikahihifo, Sam Hewitt, Louis Senior, Jon Luke Kirby, Oliver Wilson, Chester Butler
Blake Austin is place to make Warrington Wolves a welcome return since they aim to end their run to Wakefield Trinity on Friday.
Austin has been ruled out for around a month with a knee ligament injury sustained in the defeat off to Catalans Dragons and missed the Wolves’ Challenge Cup final win.
However he’s one of five players making a return on Steve Price’s 19-man team who weren’t engaged in last Thursday’s defeat to fellow play-off contenders Salford.
Wakefield head into the game in the Halliwell Jones Stadium both having lost both of the games against Warrington far this season and on the rear of a defeat to Wigan Warriors Sunday.
Trinity head coach Chris Chester has injury concerns to contend with as well, using a trio of players missing because of injuries suffered in the loss to Wigan.
Bill Tupou, chris Annakin and James Batchelor all mastered with Titus Gwaze returning to the 19-man squad into their own places, Jordy Crowther and George King, and Chester will be concerned the three can miss Wakefield’s remaining games both.
« It appears like that, » Chester said. « We have got some cover there in Joe Arundel and George King and Jordy Crowther, therefore we’ve pretty much got that covered »
Warrington Wolves 19-man group: Sitaleki Akauola, Blake Austin, Josh Charnley, Daryl Clark, Jason Clark, Mike Cooper, Ben Currie, Bryson Goodwin, Chris Hill, Toby King, Tom Lineham, Harvey Livett, Jake Mamo, Ben Murdoch-Masila, Declan Patton, Joe Philbin, Stefan Ratchford, Matty Smith, Lama Tasi
Wakefield Trinity 19-man team: Joe Arundell, Danny Brough, Jordy Crowther, Anthony England, Morgan Escare, Chris Green, Titus Gwaze, Ryan Hampshire, Ben Jones-Bishop, Lee Kershaw, George King, Danny Kirmond, Craig Kopczak, Reece Lyne, Jacob Miller, Tyler Randell, Adam Tangata, Kelepi Tanginoa, Kyle Wood
Adrian Lam understands there is still lots of work for Wigan Warriors to perform as they plan to seal second place.
Sunday’s victory away to Wakefield saw the defending champions proceed before Warrington at the table along with a win at home to Catalans Dragons on Friday would see them take towards procuring that spot.
But Lam, who has brought Harry Smith in to Amir Bourouh at the only change to his 19-man squad, » cautioned his players they cannot manage to think the job is currently done.
« We have got a pretty tough two games coming up in Catalans and Castleford at home, therefore a great deal of work to do, but I’m very happy for the team so far, » Lam said.
« We’ve used certain words at certain times of the season, and also confidence and belief are those we’re pushing aggressively in the moment.
« As a group, when we get down to a tight game, they believe in each other and when things get tight at the game during the next couple of months, I have total confidence we can get the outcome we deserve. »
Wigan conquer Catalans 42-0 on the side’s last visit but the Dragons procured a unforgettable 33-16 win in the historic game at Barcelona’s Nou Camp in May.
The guys of steve McNamara visit Wigan using their hopes in tatters following Saturday’s 24-6 defeat at home to Hull Kingston Rovers – an outcome which condemned them.
The outfit do have Sam Tomkins available to confront Alrix da Costa returns and his former team into the 19 well. Not included are Ben Garcia, Jodie Broughton, David Mead, Tony Gigot, Fouad Yaha, Sam Moa and Remi Casty.
Wigan Warriors 19-man squad: Joe Burgess, Liam Byrne, Tony Clubb, Liam Farrell, Bevan French, Oliver Gildart, Joe Greenwood, Chris Hankinson, Zak Hardaker, Willie Isa, Tommy Leuluai, Liam Marshall, Romain Navarrete, Oliver Partington, Sam Powell, Dan Sarginson, Harry Smith, Morgan Smithies, George Williams
Catalans Dragons 19-man team: Brayden Wiliame, Lewis Tierney, Samisoni Langi, Michael McIlorum, Kenny Edwards, Greg Bird, Julian Bousquet, Mickael Simon, Benjamin Julien, Matt Whitley, Alrix da Costa, Mickael Goudemand, Lambert Belmas, Lucas Albert, Antoni Maria, Jason Baitieri, Arthur Romano, Sam Kasiano, Sam Tomkins
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