Leeds Rhinos v Leigh Centurions preview: All you need to know
Patched up Leeds Rhinos will aim to complete a third successive win when they take on Leigh Centurions at Emerald Headingley tonight.
Rhinos are on a short turnaround and weakened by injuries and suspensions as they prepare to face Betfred Super League's bottom club.
Here all the essential information ahead of the game.
Fixture: Leeds Rhinos v Leigh Centurions.
Competition: Betfred Super League round 12.
At: Emerald Headingley.
On: Thursday, July 1.
Coverage: Our League for season ticket holders.
Tickets: The game is all-ticket with a 4,000 capacity. All tickets have been allocated to Rhinos members.
Leigh coach: Kurt Haggerty, 32, was appointed caretaker boss when John Duffy left the club a month ago. Formerly Duffy’s assistant, he had two spells with Leigh as a player and also turned out for Blackpool Panthers, Widnes Vikings, Barrow Raiders and Bradford Bulls. His father Roy Haggerty played for St Helens.
Leigh's star man: Captain Liam Hood began his career at Leeds, scoring three tries in one start and four substitute appearances nine years ago. The Scotland international hooker, who is a former Stanningley junior, poses a threat with his pace out of acting-half.
Key battle: Rhinos are again struggling in the halves. Rob Lui finally comes into contention following injury, but Luke Gale is ruled out through suspension. Callum McLelland also has a chance of featuring and Kruise Leeming could again fill in, but whoever Leeds' halves are will have to be on their mettle as Joe Mellor will cause them problems if he gets time on the ball, though an injury to his regular partner Ben Reynolds is a setback for the visitors.
Leigh's form: Leigh have yet to win this season and are bottom of Super League. They were beaten 44-18 at Warrington Wolves in their most recent match, last Thursday.
Previous meeting: June 1, 2018. Challenge Cup quarter-final. Rhinos 52 (Tries T Briscoe 2, Walker, Handley, Keinhorst, Golding, Myler, Smith, Cuthbertson. Goals Lilley 8), Centurions 22 (Tries Mason, Hutchinson, Crooks, Hood. Goals Reynolds 3). Referee: Chris Kendall. Attendance: 3,277, at Featherstone Rovers.
Last five results (most recent first): Rhinos WWLWL; Leigh LLLLL.
Super League head to head: Leigh are seeking their first win against Leeds since an 18-6 Stones Bitter Championship victory at Hilton Park on February 7, 1988. Leeds have won 16 of the last 17 meetings between the clubs since then, with the sides also fighting out a 12-12 draw at Hilton Park on November 22, 1992. Leeds have also won their last 12 home meetings with Leigh (including 2018's Challenge Cup fixture at Featherstone). They last tasted Headingley defeat against Leigh in the Slalom Lager Championship, 24-18, on April 3, 1984.
Connections: Leigh captain Liam Hood and forwards Jordan Thompson and Nathaniel Peteru are former Leeds players. Leeds' Bodene Thompson played for Leigh, but is suspended for this game.
Rhinos injuries: Jack Walker (foot), Harry Newman (broken leg), Konrad Hurrell (head), Ash Handley (head), Richie Myler (finger), Cameron Smith (hamstring).
Unavailable due to Covid: Zane Tetevano.
Suspended: Luke Gale, Bodene Thompson, Alex Mellor.
Rhinos team news: Rhinos are down to the bare bones again, with Konrad Hurrell and Richie Myler ruled out from last Sunday's team through injury and Luke Gale, Alex Mellor and Bodene Thompson suspended. Long-term casualties Rob Lui and Callum McLelland have been named in the initial squad and Liam Sutcliffe will return from Covid. Sam Walters, Jarrod O'Connor and Corey Hall all retain their place after not featuring last Sunday and Liam Tindall and potential debutant Levi Edwards come into contention.
Leigh team news: Keanan Brand, Adam Sidlow and Alex Gerrard could return from long-term injuries for Leigh, but Tyrone McCarthy and Ben Reynolds drop out after being hurt against Warrington Wolves last week.
Leeds Rhinos: from T Briscoe, Lui, Oledzki, Leeming, Prior, Martin, Dwyer, L Sutcliffe, Holroyd, Vuniuyayawa, Walters, McLelland, L Briscoe, Donaldson, O’Connor, Broadbent, Hall, Tindall, Edwards, Gannon.
Leigh Centurions: from Brierley, Russell, Thornley, Sa’u, Tierney, Mellor, Hood, Ioane, Hellewell, Thompson, Bell, Wildie, Gerrard, Peteru,Gee, Nathan, Sidlow, Mullen, Brand, Peats.
Referee: Aaron Moore (Wigan). It will be his first time refereeing a game inviolving Leeds.
Last game: Salford Red Devils 12 Rhinos 38 (June 27), Warrington Wolves 44 Leigh Centurions 18 (June 24).
Next game: Warrington Wolves v Leeds Rhinos (Monday, July 5, 7.45pm, Super League round 13), Hull v Leigh Centurions (Sunday, July 11, 3pm, Super League round 14).
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