THE RETURN of full-back Zak Hardaker will give Leeds Rhinos a boost away to Catalans Dragons today.
Hardaker missed the home defeat by St Helens eight days ago due to a badly cut leg suffered in the previous weekend’s Ladbrokes Challenge Cup triumph.
He has been named in the initial 19-man squad for today, with Ashton Golding – who played at full-back last week – dropping out.
But there is still no place for Kallum Watkins (ankle) and Rob Burrow (quad), who both missed last week’s game.
Liam Sutcliffe, Paul Aiton – who will join Catalans next year – and Jamie Jones-Buchanan are the other senior players on Rhinos’ casualty list.
Catalans are without the suspended Louis Anderson and Thibaut Marginet also drops out from the team beaten by Wigan Warriors last week.
Benjamin Garcia has recovered from injury and Ian Henderson, Gregory Mounis, and Antoni Maria are also in contention for a call-up.
Hardaker needs two tries to reach a career century.
Today’s game will be Ryan Hall’s 250th appearance for Rhinos and Kevin Sinfield will play his 450th Super League match.
Dragons forward Olivier Elima, who has also played for Castleford and Wakefield, is one game away from 300 career appearances.