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The Super Preview - Australian Rugby league News
globalrugbyleague - Thu, 20 Mar 2008 22:00:00 GMT
Easter is a gruelling programme for Super League’s elite competitors, with clubs playing three games over seven days.

Round seven is played on Thursday and Friday, including local derby fixtures between Leeds and Bradford, Hull FC and Hull KR, and St. Helens and Wigan.

Leeds and Bradford kick off the hectic Easter period on Thursday night.

Leeds enters the game on top of the league following their comprehensive 48-0 victory over Harlequins RL.

Some good news for Coach Brian McClennan is that Lee Smith and Matt Diskin have shaken off injuries and are available for selection.

Rhinos front rower Ryan Bailey is set to miss the game with a groin strain.

Bradford coach Steve McNamara has recalled front rower Craig Kopczak from his month loan deal at Halifax due to the enormity of the Bulls casualty list.

Forwards Langley, Morrison, and Vagana, along with backs Tupou, Sykes, and Platt all miss the game through injury.

Bradford are underdogs sitting in sixth spot four points behind Leeds, but all this counts for nothing on derby day. It’s down to who wants it more.

Leeds Rhinos 19 man squad: Webb, Donald, Senior, Smith, Burrow, Leuluai, Diskin, Peacock, Jones-Buchanan, Ellis, Sinfield, Lauitiiti, Scruton, Tansey, Hall, Burgess, Allan, Kaye, Worrall. Coach: Brian McClennan

Bradford Bulls 19 man squad: Tadulala, Newton, Halley, Feather, Platt, Deacon, Harris, Lynch, Evans, Hape, Solomona, Kopczak, Burgess, Nero, Godwin, Jeffries, Finnigan, Cook, James. Coach: Steve McNamara

City rivals Hull FC and Hull KR battle it out at Craven Park in the Friday early kick off.

Hull KR captain Paul Cooke is set to make his first appearance of Super League XIII after serving a six match ban handed to him by the RFL for holding illegal talks of a switch to his boyhood club when he was under contract at Hull FC.

Hull KR will be without ex-Hull FC man Chris Chester who misses out through injury.

Injury inflicted Hull FC will be hoping to celebrate landing a new lucrative sponsorship deal with P & O Cruises in style by ensuring their first back-to-back win of Super League XIII.

The game doesn’t need any extra ingredients to spice it up with Cooke’s comeback.

There will be a record 9,284 Super League attendance for Craven Park in the sold out game.

Hull KR 19 man squad: Briscoe, Steel, Walker, J. Webster, Fitzhenry, J. Webster, Cooke, Vella, Fisher, Mills, Newton, Galea, Murrell, Aizue, Crossman, K. Netherton, Gene, Cockayne, Lovegrove. Coach: Justin Morgan

Hull FC 19 man squad: Berrigan, Byrne, Burnett, Cusack, Fellous, Hall, G. Horne, Houghton, King, Lee, Radford, Raynor, Sing, Tony, Tickle, Washbrook, Wheeldon, Yeaman, Dykes. Coach: Peter Sharp

St. Helens take on Wigan in one of the most intense local rivalries in sport.

Saints have been forced to play young talent from their academy so far this season due to multiple injuries. Good news for coach Daniel Anderson is that Sean Long is fit to return at halfback and is expected to take the starting place of youngster Matty Smith.

Wigan have been hit by a thumb injury to arguably their best forward so far in 2008; Gareth Hock.

The second rower is expected to be out for five or six weeks with a broken thumb and full back Richie Mathers serves the second of his three match suspension.

Both sides are level on points going into the game; will it be St. Helens or Wigan that has a good Friday?

St. Helens 19 man squad: Wellens, Gardner, Gidley, Talau, Meli, Pryce, Long, Gilmour, Wilkin, Roby, Bennett, Flannery, Graham, Hargreaves, Smith, Clough, Tyrer, Fa'asavalu, Eastmond. Coach: Daniel Anderson

Wigan Warriors 19 man squad: Calderwood, Goulding, Carmont, Richards, Barrett, Leuluai, Fielden, Higham, Paleaaesina, Bailey, O'Loughlin, Colbon, Coley, Hansen, McIlorum, J. Tomkins, O'Carroll, Coyle, Mossop. Coach: Brian Noble

A weakened Harlequins RL front row takes on the upbeat Les Catalans at the Twickenham Stoop.

The Quins have had a bad week, firstly conceding second spot in the table, losing 48-0 at Leeds, and then losing front rowers Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook and Daniel Heckenberg to serious injuries.

McCarthy-Scarsbrook has a broken wrist, sidelining him for up to four months, whilst Heckenberg has dislocated the same shoulder he had cartilage surgery on last year, ruling him out for up to six weeks.

Les Catalans have some momentum behind them following their unexpected 24-10 home victory over St. Helens.

The win came at a cost, as front row Jerome Guisett has been handed a two match ban for a high tackle on Saints full back Paul Welens. He now misses the Friday and Monday games.

Casey McGuire misses the game through injury, although Dragons forward Dane Carlaw is fit again and has been included in Mick Potter’s squad.

Harlequins RL 19 man squad: Barker, Clubb, Gafa, Grayshon, Hill, Howell, Mbu, McLinden, Orr, Paul, Purdham, Randall, Rinaldi, Sharp, Sheriffe, Temata, Ward, Wells, Worrincy. Coach: Brian McDermott

Les Catalans Dragons 19 man squad: Greenshields, Wilson, Mogg, Pelo, Bosc, Ferriol, Gorrell, Raguin, Croker, Mounis, Carlaw, Duport, Chan, Fakir, Stacul, Casty, Khattabi, Baile, Touxagas. Coach: Mick Potter

Third placed Warrington take on eighth placed Huddersfield at the Halliwell Jones Stadium on Friday.

Wolves winger Kevin Penny has forced his way back into Paul Cullen’s squad after being dropped on poor early season form.

Bad news for Paul Cullen is that Wolves full back Chris Bridge is likely to miss the remainder of the season with ruptured Achilles.

Huddersfield’s Darrell Griffin misses the game through suspension after verbally abusing an official at the end of the Giants’ dramatic loss to Wigan last weekend.

Both sides will be hoping for a win to boost their chances of a top six finish come September.

Warrington Wolves 19 man squad: Reardon, Hicks, M. Gleeson, King, Penny, Briers, Monaghan, Morley, Clarke, Rauhihi, L. Anderson, Westwood, V. Anderson, M. Gleeson, Parker, Johnson, Pickersgill, Bracek, Cooper. Coach: Paul Cullen

Huddersfield Giants 19 man squad: Thorman, Elford, Whaturia, Brown, Robinson, Crabtree, Gatis, Skandalis, Lolesi, Raleigh, Wild, Jones, Jackson, Mason, Snitch, Hudson, Hemingway, Cudjoe, Jensen. Coach: Jon Sharp

Bottom clubs Wakefield and Castleford battle it out in the Good Friday late kick-off.

Wakefield’s Tevita Leo-Latu has been banned for three matches for his high tackle on Hull FC’s Adam Dykes, meaning he will miss the Easter Period.

John Kear has just about managed to patch up enough Wildcats to name a 19 man squad, with hooker Brad Drew the most noticeable absentee.

Castleford are missing hooker Scott Moore through injury, but otherwise are at full strength going into the game.

The Tigers will hope to take advantage of Wakefield’s injury crisis and move off the foot of the table.

Wakefield Trinity Wildcats 19 man squad: Blaymire, Martin, Atkins, Rooney, Brough, Watene, Sculthorpe, Ferres, MacGillivray, Demetriou, Obst , Bibey, Henderson, Wilkes, Gleeson, Grix, Ferguson, Moore, Murphy. Coach: John Kear

Castleford Tigers 19 man squad: Dorn, Donlan, Shenton, Dixon, Thackeray, Sherwin, Leafa, Henderson, Korkidas, Guttenbeil, Clayton, Westerman, Higgins, Huby, Lupton, Boyle, Owen, McGoldrick, Fletcher. Coach: Terry Matterson

Rik’s Round Seven Tips: Rhinos to beat Bulls by 24. Hull KR to beat Hull FC by 14. Warriors to beat Saints by 6. Quins to beat Dragons by 12. Wolves to beat Giants by 12. Tigers to beat Wildcats by 6. - Read More, Here