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The sneak preview - Australian Rugby league News
globalrugbyleague - Sat, 07 Apr 2007 01:36:00 GMT
After a break for the Challenge Cup, Super League returns with the biggest derby in world club sport.

Traditionally, clubs in Super League have used the Easter period to set the tone for the remainder of their season.

Round eight includes two egg-cellent local derby ties. First Leeds travel to Bradford, and then on Good Friday, it’s the biggest club game in the world of sport: Wigan verses St. Helens.

The Bradford versus Leeds Yorkshire derby should be a tasty tie.

After experiencing the derby as a former Bulls player, now Bradford’s head coach Steve McNamara will be the brains behind the plot to thwart Leeds’ attempt to knock the Bulls off top spot.

Both sides have a full complement to pick from. The visitors, Leeds welcome back Brent Webb, Keith Senior and Gareth Ellis, who had a week off for Leeds’ cup tie against Workington.

The Bulls faced late injury worries with Terry Newton, Jamie Langley and Lesley Vainikolo, but all three are included in the 18.

Bradford 18 man squad: Langley, Deacon, Vagana, Newton, I. Harris, Morrison, Vainikolo, Lynch, Evans, B. Harris, St Hilaire, Solomona, Burgess, Henderson, McKenna, Feather, Platt, McAvoy.

Leeds 18 man squad: Webb, Donald, Toopi, Senior, McGuire, Burrow, Leuluai, Diskin, Peacock, Jones-Buchanan, Ellis, Sinfield, Lauitiiti, Thackray, Bailey, Kirke, Gibson, Tansey.

Good Friday contains a five fixtures feast of Super League action, kicking off with Harlequins RL hosting Hull FC.

After an impressive start to Super League XII, the Quins are now loitering dangerously around the foot of the table, along with their Good Friday opponents Hull FC.

The London based club will be without Lee Hopkins and John Grayshon, although David Tootill, Karl Temata and Jon Wells return to Brian McDermott’s squad.

Sid Domic, Richard Swain and Gareth Raynor all return for Hull, who are set to hand a Super League debut to 19-year-old academy player Craig Hall.

Harlequins RL 18 man squad: Gafa, Heckenberg, Hill, McCarthy-Scarsbrook, McLinden, Melling, Mills, Orr, Paul, Purdham, Randall, Rinaldi, A. Smith, T. Smith, Sykes, Temata, Tootill, Wells.

Hull FC 18 man squad: Briscoe, Domic, Dowes, Godwin, Hall, G. Horne, R. Horne, King, Maiava, Manu, Raynor, Radford, Sing, Swain, Tony, Washbrook, Wheeldon, Yeaman.

Struggling Salford entertain an injury riddled Warrington outfit. The Wolves are without their two key performers; Lee Briers and Adrian Morley, as well as having second row Ben Westwood suspended for a striking charge last weekend.

Paul Cullen has called up the academy players as a result, six to be precise, who have one Super League substitute appearance between them.

The youngsters are Matty Blythe, Andy Bracek, Ben Harrison, Chris Reily, Mike Cooper and Kevin Penny. Salford welcome back Aaron Moule and hand a debut to French hooker David Berthezene.

Salford 18 man squad: Hodgson, Moule, Wilshere, Dorn, Robinson, Coley, Korkidas, Finnigan, Highton, Brocklehurst, Haggerty, Adamson, Littler, Gower, Turner, Jewitt, Williams, Berthezene.

Warrington 18 man squad: Reardon, Fa’afili, Mark Gleeson, Grose, Riley, Bridge, Clarke, Leikvoll, Martin Gleeson, Rauhihi, Harrison, Wainwright, Anderson, Penny, Bracek, Cooper, Pickersgill, Blythe.

Hull KR and Les Catalans will battle it out for the right to go back into a playoff place going into round nine.

The travelling French will play the Robins for the first time in their very brief history since forming at the beginning of Super League XI.

The Dragons are expected to hand Super League debuts to brothers Kane and Andrew Bentley, whilst Hull KR will be without the injured Tommy Gallagher, who is replaced by the returning Jon Goddard.

Hull KR 18 man squad: Bauer, K. Netherton, Morton, Tangata-Toa, Aizue, Gene, Ward, J. Netherton, Vella, Fisher, Gannon, Murrell, Chester, Ford, Goddard, Dyer, Steel, Cockayne.

Les Catalans 18 man squad: A. Bentley, K. Bentley, Bosc, Casty, Chan, Croker, Duport, Fellous, Ferriol, Gossard, Greenshields, Guisset, Jones, McGuire, Mogg, Pelo, Teixido, Touxagas.

A restricted capacity 24,028 sell out crowd will conger up a cauldron of noise as they experience the greatest club contest in sport as Wigan take on the World Club Champions St. Helens.

Brian Noble’s Warriors are at full strength as Michael Withers returns to the squad. Saints’ only absentee is Jason Hooper who cannot seem to shake off an on going shoulder injury.

The four game breakers for me will be; Trent Barrett and Sean O’Loughlin for Wigan, and Sean Long and James Roby for Saints.

Paul Sculthorpe has waited for the Good Friday showdown to make his first start of 2007. The fixture will be played at a fast, free-flowing, high intensity and should include lots of tries, incident and big hits.

Wigan 18 man squad: Ashton, Calderwood, Bailey, Withers, Richards, Barrett, Leuluai, Fielden, Higham, Paleaaesina, Hock, Fletcher, O’Loughlin, Vaealiki, Millard, Prescott, Hansen, O’Carroll.

St. Helens 18 man squad: Wellens, Gardner, Gidley, Talau, Meli, Pryce, Long, Fozzard, Cunningham, Cayless, Gilmour, Wilkin, Sculthorpe, Roby, Bennett, Graham, Hardman, Fa’asavalu.

John Kear’s Wakefield will hope to pile more misery on to John Sharp’s pointless Huddersfield in the final fixture of round eight.

The desperate Giants welcome the return off skipper Chris Thorman and centre Shane Elford. There is a handful of returning first grade players for the Wildcats, who were rested in last weekend’s Challenge Cup.

Amazingly, Jamie Rooney is included in Wakefield’s 18 after suffering a torn calf muscle after round six.

Huddersfield 18 man squad: Reilly, Aspinwall, Brown, Elford, Thorman, Paul, Crabtree, Drew, Skandalis, Nero, Raleigh, Wild, Jones, Mason, Griffin, Hudson, Snitch, Hemingway.

Wakefield 18 man squad: Pryce, Demetriou, Atkins, Rooney, Jeffries, Watene, Sculthorpe, Catic, MacGillivray, Ferres, P. March, Henderson, Elima, Latu, Blaymire, Fox, Golden, Moore.

THE RICH ROUND EIGHT TIPS: Rhinos to beat Bulls by 6. Hull FC to beat Quins by 12. Reds to beat Wolves by 12. Dragons to beat Hull KR by 6. Warriors to beat Saints by 2. Giants to beat Wildcats by 4. - Read More, Here