Leeds Rhinos: Achurch is a surprise inclusion in Grand Final squad

Mitch Achurch
Mitch Achurch
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AUSTRALIAN FORWARD Mitch Achurch could return for Leeds Rhinos in Saturday’s First Utility Super League Grand Final.

Achurch has missed the last three games due to a hand injury, but is included in Rhinos’ initial 19-man squad for the Old Trafford showdown with Wigan Warriors.

That means 16 of the 17 players who featured in August’s 50-0 Ladbrokes Challenge Cup final demolition of Hull KR are in contention for the title decider.

The only member of the Wembley team not available tomorrow is second-rower Stevie Ward, who suffered a season-ending knee injury in the win at Huddersfield Giants two weeks ago.

Rhinos boss Brian McDermott will select from the 17 named for last week’s semi-final victory against St Helens, plus Achurch and fellow back-rower Josh Walters.

Teenage half-back Jordan Lilley, who has been an unused substitute for the past two games, continues in the 19.

If he plays, it will be only his fifth senior game.

Players in Rhinos’ 19 without Grand Final experience are Achurch, Tom Briscoe, Adam Cuthbertson, Mitch Garbutt, Jimmy Keinhorst, Lilley, Joel Moon, Brad Singleton and Josh Walters.

Jamie Peacock will set a new record with his 11th Grand Final appearance. Zak Hardaker needs one try for a career century of touchdowns.

Former Wakefield Trinity Wildcats forward Taulima Tautai has been named in Wigan’s squad after suspension.

Anthony Gelling is also added to the players on duty against Huddersfield Giants eight days ago.