Huddersfield Giants v Leeds Rhinos - all you need to know
Leeds Rhinos travel to Huddersfield Giants on Sunday aiming to end a four-match losing run.
Without a victory in April, they begin the new month against a side yet to get off the mark in Betfred Super League.
Here's all the essential information for the big game.
Fixture: Huddersfield Giants v Leeds Rhinos.
Competition: Betfred Super League round five.
At: John Smith’s Stadium.
On: Sunday, May 2.
Coverage: Our League for season ticket holders.
Tickets: No admission for fans - the game will be played behind closed doors.
Giants coach: Ian Watson joined Giants in the off-season after a five years in charge of Salford Red Devils, during which he guided them to third place in the table and the Grand Final in 2019 and Wembley last year. He played as a half-back or hooker for Swinton, Salford, Workington, Widnes, Rochdale, Oldham, Halifax, Leigh and Wales and was player-coach at Swinton and an assistant-boss for Salford before taking the head job.
Giants’ star man: Half-back Aidan Sezer was a Man of Steel nominee last year, the season after helping Canberra Raiders to the NRL Grand Final. One of the most influential players in Super League, only St Helens’ Jonny Lomax had more try-assists in 2020 than Sezer’s 18, 13 with passes and five from kicks.
Key battle: Kruise Leeming is returning to his old stomping ground for the first time in a competitive game and will be keen to show Giants what they have lost. He and Rhinos’ other hooker Brad Dwyer face a vital clash with James Cunningham and Adam O’Brien, who are a dangerous double-act for Giants.
Giants’ form: Giants have yet to win in Super League this year, losing to Hull, Catalans Dragons, Hull KR and St Helens, but did pick up a victory against top-flight opposition in the Betfred Challenge Cup, winning at Leigh Centurions.
Previous meeting: September 11, 2020. Betfred Super League round 12 (at TW Stadium, St Helens). Leeds Rhinos 13 (Tries Hurrell, T Briscoe. Goals Gale 2. Drop goal Gale), Huddersfield Giants 12 (Try English. Goals Russell 4). Referee: Scott Mikalauskas, replaced by James Child.
Last five results (most recent first): Giants LLWLL; Rhinos LLLLW.
Super League head to head: Huddersfield have won 11, Leeds have won 34 and there have been three draws. Giants’ highest score was 48-24 at home in 2012 and widest margin 38-6 away the previous year. Rhinos’ highest score and winning margin was 86-6 at home in 1999.
Connections: Leeds’ Kruise Leeming and Alex Mellor were both signed from Huddersfield at the end of 2019. Brad Dwyer had a spell there on loan during his time at Warrington. Giants’ Joe Greenwood was on loan at Rhinos last year, but did not play.
Rhinos injuries: Jack Walker (foot), Harry Newman (broken leg), Rob Lui (quad muscle), Luke Gale (broken thumb), Cameron Smith (hamstring), Tom Holroyd (fractured leg), Callum McLelland (groin).
Suspension: Zane Tetevano is serving the third game of a four-match ban. Richie Myler begins a two-game suspension.
Team news: Rhinos are without Richie Myler after he picked up a two-game ban for dissent against Hull KR so Liam Sutcliffe, who returns from a knee injury, is likely to take over in the halves. Young forwards Sam Walters, Jarrod O’Connor and Morgan Gannon are vying for a recall, along with teenage centre Corey Hall. Giants’ squad includes the 17 beaten by St Helens last week, plus Ricky Leutele, Joe Greenwood, Leroy Cudjoe and Oliver Russell.
Giants’ 21-man squad is: McGillvary, Leutele, McIntosh, Gaskell, Sezer, Yates, O’Brien, Lawrence, Edwards, Jones, English, Greenwood, Cogger, McQueen, Ashworth, Cunningham, Wilson, Cudjoe, Gavet, Russell, Wood.
Rhinos’ 21 is: T Briscoe, Hurrell, Handley, Oledzki, Leeming, Prior, Mellor, Martin, Dwyer, L Sutcliffe, Vuniyayawa, Thompson, A Sutcliffe, Walters, L Briscoe, Donaldson, O’Connor, Broadbent, Hall, Gannon, Eastmond.
Referee: Liam Moore (Wigan). It is his second Rhinos game this year, after the loss to Castleford a month ago.
Next game: St Helens v Huddersfield Giants, Friday, May 7, at Emerald Headingley (8.15pm), Betfred Challenge Cup quarter-final; Leeds Rhinos v Wakefield Trinity, Friday, May 14 (7.45pm), Betfred Super League round six.
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