Leeds Rhinos: Hardaker banned for trip to Wigan Warriors, but Hunslet Hawks duo return

Rhinos' Robbie Mulhern
Rhinos' Robbie Mulhern
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Leeds Rhinos will be without full-back Zak Hardaker for Thursday’s trip to Wigan Warriors.

Hardaker has been suspended for one match after submitting an early guilty plea to a charge of making a Grade B dangerous tackle on Travis Burns in last Friday’s win over St Helens.

Stevie Ward, who suffered an ankle injury against Saints and is expected to be sidelined for up to six weeks, also drops out.

Last week’s 18th man Andy Yates and fellow prop Brad Singleton, who was rested against Saints, are both included in Leeds’ initial 19-man squad.

Prop Robbie Mulhern and back-rower Josh Walters have been drafted in after playing on dual-registration for Hunslet Hawks in last Sunday’s 68-6 defeat by Bradford Bulls.

Both Mulhern and Yates were named in Hawks’ 19-man squad for Wednesday’s Kingstone Press Championship fixture at Leigh Centurions.

Winger Tom Briscoe (shoulder) and forward Jamie Jones-Buchanan (hamstring) are both back in training and expected to return before the end of the month.

But stand-off Liam Sutcliffe (knee) and second-row Mitch Achurch (wrist) remain on the long-term casualty list, along with under-19s full-back Ashton Golding (back).

Wigan could welcome back captain Sean O’Loughlin after he missed last week’s defeat at Warrington Wolves.

John Bateman, Tony Clubb and Josh Charnley are also back in contention, with Dom Manfredi and Ryan Sutton dropping out.

Richard Silverwood has been appointed as referee for Thursday’s game.

Leeds Rhinos’ 19-man squad is Watkins, Handley, Ablett, Moon, Hall, Sinfield, McGuire, Leuluai, Aiton, Peacock, Keinhorst, Delaney, Cuthbertson, Garbutt, Burrow, Singleton, Yates, Walters, Mulhern.

Wigan Warriors: from Bowen, Charnley, Gelling, Sarginson, Burgess, Williams, Smith, Crosby, McIlorum, Flower, Tomkins, L Farrell, O’Loughlin, Powell, Mossop, Tautai, Patrick, Bateman, Clubb.

Cory Aston, in action for Leeds Rhinos.

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