Team news and views because relegation struggles orgasm and the play-off.
Richard Agar considers Leeds Rhinos still have improvements to make after sealing their place.
Last Sunday’s 36-10 win off to London Broncos signifies the Rhinos are just four points clear of the side with two matches of the season staying and having a much superior points gap to the other sides close to the foot of this table.
Interim head coach Agar is in no doubt a display can be produced by that his side when Salford Red Devils and Headingley on Friday evening see with, but is happy they have got themselves into a position that is more secure.
“Performance-wise there is a whole lot to improve , but dedication and defensive attempt I thought was magnificent,” Agar said.
“We always said pulling together it was not likely to become an overnight fix, a couple of opportunities missed and everybody else has won games to help keep it a struggle.
“I know mathematically we’re still not safe but it is a good old swing with two matches as well as two additional teams battling each other.”
Agar has appointed an unchanged 19-man squad for the game with Salford, who are really on a club-record streak of six wins in Super League final Thursday, after overcoming Warrington Wolves 22-6.
Red Devils head coach Ian Watson attracts George Griffin straight to the squad following his return from injury and Josh Wood is recalled to the 19 as well.
Salford have now been given a further boost with the news mid-season recruit Josh Johnson has agreed a contract with the team for 2020.
“Josh has added a bit of grit to our bunch and bought to the work ethic of the group,” Watson explained.
“We had to move quickly to secure his services for next year, after his vibrant performances caught the eyes of other Super League clubs.
“He’s pleased to be remaining with us and I’m sure he will continue to improve and be a precious registering”
Leeds Rhinos 19-man team: 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 squad: 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
Finishing an unbeaten season is the purpose of St Helens on Friday night if they welcome Huddersfield Giants to Totally Wicked Stadium.
The League Leaders’ Shield winners’ three beats throughout the Super League regular season all have come with their home ground, to the road.
Saints have not completed an unbeaten stretch at home since 2002, when they moved on to win Grand Final, also also head trainer Justin Holbrook knows his side should be on their guard against a Giants facet who eased their relegation fears with a 22-12 win away to Hull FC last week.
“We’ve been terrific there every week this season and we wish to maintain that,” Holbrook said. “We’ve got to play well to beat Huddersfield on Friday.
“This was a fantastic win for them last week. They are not in a great spot in the table, but they’ve shown to go and win at Hull they’ve got a dangerous side”
Dominique Peyroux and Great Britain call-up Lachlan Coote possibly reunite to Holbrook’s 19-man squad to the Huddersfield match after missing Friday’s 4-0 win at home to Castleford Tigers.
Giants head coach Simon Woolford is because of injury, therefore Tom Holmes comes back into their squad at his or her place. Aaron Murphy is replaced by adam Walne .
Though the triumph over Hull put them in a position huddersfield are still not safe from the danger of relegation.
“It is dependent on additional games and other benefits, but it has definitely helped our cause,” Woolford said. “It’s been a difficult year for several reasons and those few wins are few and far between.
“We won’t be shutting up shop today, there’s still a major task to do and we want to make sure we complete the seasons really nicely.”
St Helens 19-man squad: 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 squad: 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
Blake Austin is intended to make Warrington Wolves a welcome return because they aim to end their streak in Super League at home to Wakefield Trinity on Friday.
Austin has been ruled out for around a month with an ankle ligament injury suffered in the defeat off to Catalans Dragons ancient in August and missed the Wolves’ Challenge Cup triumph.
But he’s just one of five players earning a return on Steve Price team who were not involved in Thursday’s defeat to fellow play-off contenders Salford.
Wakefield head to the match at the Halliwell Jones Stadium having dropped both of the matches against Warrington so far this year and on the rear of a 24-16 defeat to Wigan Warriors.
Trinity head coach Chris Chester has injury concerns to contend with too, with a trio of gamers all missing due to injuries suffered in the loss to Wigan.
James Batchelor, Bill Tupou along with chris Annakin all mastered with Titus Gwaze returning into the squad in their areas, Jordy Crowther and George King, and Chester is worried the three could miss both of Wakefield’s remaining games.
“It appears like that,” Chester said. “We have got a few cover 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 understands there is still plenty of work for Wigan Warriors as they plan to seal second place in Super League ahead of the play-offs to do.
Sunday’s victory away to Wakefield saw the defending champions move ahead of Warrington at the table and a win at home to Catalans Dragons on Friday will watch them take towards securing that spot.
But Lam, who’s attracted Harry Smith in for Amir Bourouh at the only change to his 19-man squad,” warned his players they cannot manage to think the job is already done.
“We’ve got a pretty tough two matches coming in Catalans and Castleford at home, therefore a lot of work to do, but I am really pleased for the team up to now,” Lam said.
“We have used certain words at specific times of the year, and also optimism and belief are the ones we are pushing aggressively in the present time.
“As a group, when we get down to a tight game, they feel in each other and if things get tight in the match during the next couple of months, I have complete confidence we can find the result we deserve.”
Wigan defeat Catalans 42-0 on the side’s last trip to the DW Stadium in March, however the Dragons ensured a memorable 33-16 win in the game at Barcelona’s Nou Camp in May.
Steve McNamara’s guys visit Wigan in tatters following last Saturday defeat to Hull Kingston Rovers – an outcome which condemned them.
The outfit do have Sam Tomkins accessible to face his former club and also Alrix da Costa yields to the 19. Not involved are Ben Garcia, David Mead Remi Casty, Tony Gigot, Fouad Yaha, Sam Moa and Jodie Broughton.
Wigan Warriors 19-man squad: 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 group: 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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