BOTH TEAMS could make only one change when Leeds Rhinos visit Halifax in the Betfred Qualifiers on Sunday.
Full-back Ashton Golding, prop Anthony Mullally and second-rower Josh Walters have all been named in Rhinos’ initial 19-man squad and are in contention for a recall to the matchday team.
Forward Brett Ferres will serve a one-game ban after being charged with dangerous contact in last week’s win over Salford Red Devils so Brad Singleton takes over as captain.
Knee injury victims Kallum Watkins, Ryan Hall and Mitch Garbutt have all been ruled out for the rest of the season, along with Brett Delaney (fractured eye socket). Carl Ablett (knee), Stevie Ward (ankle) and Ash Handley (shoulder/foot) are also on the casualty list and are unlikely to play again this year.
Sunday will be Rhinos’ first visit to The Shay since a 20-14 Super League win in 2003. Jamie Jones-Buchanan is Leeds’ only playing survivor from that game, but director of rugby Kevin Sinfield and assistant-coaches Rob Burrow and Chev Walker all played.
Halifax are boosted by the return of Steve Tyrer. The goal-kicking back, the second-highest scorer in Halifax’s history, has missed the last three games due to a knee ligament injury, but is included in the hosts’ initial squad. Simon Grix remains sidelined due to concussion, but Brandon Douglas and Kieren Moss are set to be recalled. James Saltonstall drops out from the team which lost 26-12 at Widnes Vikings a week ago.
Halifax’s 19 includes Rhinos academy products Scott Murrell and Ben Kaye, along with dual-registered Castleford Tigers forward Will Maher.
Former Rhinos prop Jordan Baldwinson joined Halifax on loan from Wakefield Trinity, but is on the casualty list.
Halifax finished fourth in the Championship but have lost all five of their fixtures in the Qualifiers.
Halifax: from Butler, Cooper, Davies, Douglas, Fairbank, Fleming, Grady, Heaton, Johnston, Jones, Kaye, Maher, Moore, Moss, Murrell, Sharp, Tangata, Tyrer, Woodburn-Hall.
Leeds Rhinos: from Golding, T Briscoe, L Sutcliffe, Moon, Myler, Cuthbertson, Parcell, Singleton, Jones-Buchanan, Dwyer, Mullally, Keinhorst, Peteru, Walker, Smith, Walters, L Briscoe, Crosby, Thompson.
Referee: Liam Moore (Wigan).
Kick-off: Sunday, 3pm.