Team news and perspectives before Friday’s non-televised Super League games as the play-off and relegation battles climax.
Richard Agar considers Leeds Rhinos still have improvements to make after sealing their place in Super League for 2020.
Last Sunday’s 36-10 win off to London Broncos means the Rhinos are just four points clear at the base side with two matches of the regular season using a far superior points difference to the sides close to the foot of this table and remaining.
Head coach Agar is in no doubt a display can be produced by that his side if Salford Red Devils and Headingley on Friday evening see, however is happy they’ve got themselves into a far more secure position.
“Performance-wise there is a lot to improve , but commitment and defensive effort I thought was outstanding,” Agar said.
“We said pulling it together was not going to be an overnight fix, a couple of chances missed and everybody else has won matches to help keep it a battle.
“I know mathematically we’re not safe but it’s a good old swing with just two matches as well as two additional teams battling each other”
Agar has named an unchanged 19-man squad for the match with Salford, that are on a run of six wins in Super League final Thursday after beating Warrington Wolves 22-6.
Red Devils head coach Ian Watson attracts straight George Griffin and Josh Wood is remembered to the 19 well.
Salford have now been given a boost with the information mid-season recruit Josh Johnson has agreed a contract.
“Josh has added a touch of grit into our bunch and bought to the work ethic of the team,” Watson explained.
“We had to move quickly to secure his services for next season, following his vibrant performances caught the eyes of other Super League clubs.
“He’s pleased to be remaining with us and I am sure he will continue to improve and be a precious signing.”
Leeds Rhinos 19-man squad: Jack Walker, Konrad Hurrell, Ash Handley, Richie Myler, Adam Cuthbertson, Trent Merrin, Brad Dwyer, Liam Sutcliffe, Brett Ferres, Mikolaj Oledzki, Jamie Jones-Buchanan, Cameron Smith, Luke Briscoe, James Donaldson, Harry Newman, Ava Seumanufagai, Shaun Lunt, Robert Lui, Rhyse Martin
Salford Red Devils 19-man group: Niall Evalds, Kris Welham, Jake Bibby, Lee Mossop, Josh Wood, Gil Dudson, Josh Jones, George Griffin, Mark Flanagan, Joey Lussick, Adam Walker, Greg Burke, Tyrone McCarthy, Logan Tomkins, Ken Sio, Krisnan Inu, Tui Lolohea, Jackson Hastings, Josh Johnson
Completing an unbeaten season is your purpose of St Helens on Friday night when they advised Huddersfield Giants to Entirely Wicked Stadium.
The League Leaders’ Shield winners’ three defeats throughout the Super League regular season have come using their home ground proving something of a fortress, on the street.
Saints have not finished an abysmal stretch in the home since 2002, when they went on to win Grand Final, along with head coach Justin Holbrook knows his side must be on their guard against a Giants side who eased their relegation fears with a 22-12 win off to Hull FC a week.
“We’ve been terrific there every week this season and we wish to keep that,” Holbrook said. “We’ve got to play well to beat Huddersfield on Friday.
“This was a good win for them last week. They’re not in a excellent spot in the table, but they have shown to win and go at Hull they have got a dangerous side.”
After missing last Friday’s 4-0 win at home current Great Britain call-up Lachlan Coote and dominique Peyroux possibly come back to Holbrook squad to the Huddersfield match.
Giants head coach Simon Woolford is because of trauma, therefore Tom Holmes comes back in their squad in his or her place. Aaron Murphy is replaced by adam Walne .
Huddersfield are still not safe from the danger of relegation, although the triumph over Hull put them in a stronger position heading into the season’s last two matches.
“It is dependent on additional games and other results, but it has definitely aided our cause,” Woolford said. “It has been a tough year for quite a few reasons and those couple of wins have been few and far between.
“We won’t be shutting up shop now, there is still a major job to do and we would like to make sure we finish the seasons really well.”
St Helens 19-man group: Jonny Lomax, Tommy Makinson, Kevin Naiqama, Mark Percival, Regan Grace, Theo Fages, Danny Richardson, Alex Walmsley, James Roby, Luke Thompson, Zeb Taia, Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook, Morgan Knowles, Kyle Amor, Dominique Peyroux, Jack Ashworth, James Bentley, Lachlan Coote, Matty Costello
Huddersfield Giants 19-man group: Darnell McIntosh, Jermaine McGillvary, Lee Gaskell, Paul Clough, Kruise Leeming, Suaia Matagi, Alex Mellor, Michael Lawrence, Adam O’Brien, Ukuma Ta’ai, Jake Wardle, Tom Holmes, Adam Walne, Sebastine Ikahihifo, Sam Hewitt, Louis Senior, Jon Luke Kirby, Oliver Wilson, Chester Butler
As they plan to end their losing run in Super League in the home to Wakefield Trinity on Friday blake Austin is utilized to create a return.
Austin has been ruled out for about a month with a knee ligament injury suffered in the defeat away to Catalans Dragons and overlooked the Wolves’ Challenge Cup final triumph.
However he’s just one of five players earning a return on the 19-man squad that weren’t engaged in last Thursday’s defeat to fellow play-off contenders Salford of Steve Price.
Wakefield head into the game at the Halliwell Jones Stadium having dropped both of their games against Warrington much this season and on the rear of a defeat to Wigan Warriors.
Trinity head coach Chris Chester has many injury issues to compete as well, using a trio of players missing due to injuries sustained in the loss to Wigan.
Chris Annakin, Bill Tupou and James Batchelor all ruled out, with Titus Gwaze returning into the squad into their locations, Jordy Crowther and George King, and Chester is worried the three can miss the two of Wakefield games.
“It appears like that,” Chester said. “We have got some cover there in Joe Arundel and George King and Jordy Crowther, so we’ve pretty much got that covered”
Warrington Wolves 19-man team: Sitaleki Akauola, Blake Austin, Josh Charnley, Daryl Clark, Jason Clark, Mike Cooper, Ben Currie, Bryson Goodwin, Chris Hill, Toby King, Tom Lineham, Harvey Livett, Jake Mamo, Ben Murdoch-Masila, Declan Patton, Joe Philbin, Stefan Ratchford, Matty Smith, Lama Tasi
Wakefield Trinity 19-man team: Joe Arundell, Danny Brough, Jordy Crowther, Anthony England, Morgan Escare, Chris Green, Titus Gwaze, Ryan Hampshire, Ben Jones-Bishop, Lee Kershaw, George King, Danny Kirmond, Craig Kopczak, Reece Lyne, Jacob Miller, Tyler Randell, Adam Tangata, Kelepi Tanginoa, Kyle Wood
Adrian Lam knows there is plenty of effort for Wigan Warriors as they aim to seal second place in Super League before the 28, to perform.
Sunday’s success away to Wakefield saw the defending champions move before Warrington in the table along with a win at home to Catalans Dragons on Friday would watch them have a step nearer towards securing that place.
But Lam, who’s brought Harry Smith in for Amir Bourouh from the only change to his 19-man squad,” cautioned his players they can’t manage to think the task is currently done.
“We have got a pretty tough two matches coming up in Catalans and Castleford in the home, thus a great deal of work to perform, but I am really pleased for the team up to now,” Lam said.
“We’ve used specific words at particular times of the year, and confidence and perception are those we are pushing aggressively at the moment.
“As a team, when we get into a tight match, they feel in each other and when things get tight in the game over the next couple of months, I have complete confidence we can find the outcome we deserve.”
Wigan beat against Catalans 42-0 about the side’s last trip to the DW Stadium in March, however the Dragons procured a unforgettable 33-16 win over the Cherry and Whites in the match at Barcelona’s Nou Camp in May.
The men of steve McNamara head to Wigan with their play-off expects in tatters after last Saturday defeat to Hull Kingston Rovers – an outcome which condemned them to a third straight loss.
The Perpignan-based outfit do, nevertheless, have Sam Tomkins available to face his former team and Alrix da Costa returns into the 19. Not included are Ben Garcia, Jodie Broughton, David Mead, Tony Gigot, Fouad Yaha, Sam Moa and Remi Casty.
Wigan Warriors 19-man group: Joe Burgess, Liam Byrne, Tony Clubb, Liam Farrell, Bevan French, Oliver Gildart, Joe Greenwood, Chris Hankinson, Zak Hardaker, Willie Isa, Tommy Leuluai, Liam Marshall, Romain Navarrete, Oliver Partington, Sam Powell, Dan Sarginson, Harry Smith, Morgan Smithies, George Williams
Catalans Dragons 19-man squad: Brayden Wiliame, Lewis Tierney, Samisoni Langi, Michael McIlorum, Kenny Edwards, Greg Bird, Julian Bousquet, Mickael Simon, Benjamin Julien, Matt Whitley, Alrix da Costa, Mickael Goudemand, Lambert Belmas, Lucas Albert, Antoni Maria, Jason Baitieri, Arthur Romano, Sam Kasiano, Sam Tomkins

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