We look at what is being said ahead of Friday’s Super League games as Hull FC face Wakefield Trinity, live on Sky Sports, along with Hull Kingston Rovers against Leeds Rhinos and Salford Red Devils playing Leigh Centurions…
Hull FC vs Wakefield Trinity (7.45pm, live on Sky Sports Arena)
Just five days after their 14-14 draw with Warrington Wolves in which even 10 minutes of golden point extra time could not produce a winner, Hull FC welcome Wakefield to the KCOM Stadium for Friday’s live Super League match.
It was a result which ensured the Black and Whites maintained their unbeaten start to life under head coach Brett Hodgson and another match in which the defensive work they have done during pre-season came to the fore.
Hull FC vs Wakefield Trinity
April 23, 2021, 7:30pm
Back row Andre Savelio hailed the fitness and endurance levels shown by the Hull team too, believing it was a further sign of the progress they have made since Hodgson took charge.
“If you look back a year ago, we probably wouldn’t have stayed in that game and we wouldn’t have stuck with them for 80 minutes so that is a marker of how far we’ve come,” Savelio said.
“Our effort for each other in defence was immense, and that all comes from that team-first mentality.”
Hodgson has Samoan international prop Ligi Sao back for this clash against winless Wakefield, who went down 34-6 to reigning champions St Helens last week.
Trinity were not helped by losing captain Jacob Miller to a knee injury which is set to keep him for up to four weeks, as well as joining two other key men in Bill Tupou and Tom Johnstone on the sidelines.
It follows a 2020 which saw head coach Chris Chester’s squad ravaged by injury and players being stood down due to Covid-19 protocols, although he believes they are a much better team for going through that adversity.
“The players had to go through a hell of a lot [last year] and what was pleasing was just how we all came together at the end,” Chester told Sky Sports’ The Coaching Manual. “We came out a better team because of it.”
Hull FC: Jake Connor, Bureta Faraimo, Carlos Tuimavave, Josh Griffin, Mahe Fonua, Marc Sneyd, Scott Taylor, Danny Houghton, Chris Satae, Andre Savelio, Ligi Sao, Jordan Johnstone, Joe Cator, Jordan Lane, Brad Fash, Ben McNamara, Adam Swift, Josh Bowden, Cameron Scott, Jude Ferreira, Mitieli Vulikijapani.
☀️ Team Run at a glorious @TheMobileRockit this morning ahead of our fixture with @hullfcofficial tomorrow night!#SLHulWak pic.twitter.com/zl78Dbn0JC
Wakefield Trinity: Max Jowitt, Reece Lyne, Liam Kay, Mason Lino, David Fifita, Kyle Wood, Tinirau Arona, Kelepi Tanginoa, Joe Westerman, Jay Pitts, Eddie Battye, James Batchelor, Chris Green, Innes Senior, Jordy Crowther, Joe Arundel, Jack Croft, Brad Walker, Lee Kershaw, Ryan Hampshire, Sam Eseh.
Hull Kingston Rovers vs Leeds Rhinos (6pm)
Ryan Hall carved out his name as ‘World’s Best Winger’ with his try-scoring endeavours during an 11-year spell with Leeds Rhinos, but on Friday night he will be aiming to inflict that on his old club.
It will be the first time Hall has faced Leeds since returning to Super League with Hull Kingston Rovers ahead of the 2021 season after two years in Australia with Sydney Roosters.
A hat-trick in a golden-point defeat to Catalans Dragons on his Rovers debut in Round 1 showed the 33-year-old is still a potent threat out wide, although the man himself feels he still has more work to do.
“I’ve got through the work but – and it’s what I pride myself on – I don’t think I’ve done it to the best of my ability,” Hall said.
“I don’t think I’ve played well yet. I’m waiting to play well and it would be nice if I could do it this week.”
There could also be a Hull KR debut for another new recruit, Brad Takairangi, although Korbin Sims is out due to concussion protocols and Mikey Lewis is suspended.
Leeds, meanwhile, are likely to see blockbusting centre Konrad Hurrell make his long-awaited return along with Richie Myler, King Vuniyayawa, Bodene Thompson and Ash Handley, who signed a new contract earlier this week.
Kyle Eastmond is likely to feature again too as he continues to reacclimatise to rugby league following his debut in last week’s 19-6 loss to Wigan Warriors and Rhinos head coach Richard Agar is happy to give him time.
“He’s still getting used to plays and cause and effect and he will be better for a couple of more runs, I’m sure,” Agar said. “He’s an intelligent player and he will get better in that regard.”
Hull Kingston Rovers: Adam Quinlan, Ben Crooks, Greg Minikin, Shaun Kenny-Dowall, Ryan Hall, Jordan Abdull, Albert Vete, Matt Parcell, Brad Takairangi, Kane Linnett, Dean Hadley, Jez Litten, George Lawler, George King, Matty Storton, Will Dagger, Ethan Ryan, Rowan Milnes, Luis Johnson, Muizz Mustapha, Jimmy Keinhorst.
Leeds Rhinos: Tom Briscoe, Konrad Hurrell, Ash Handley, Mikolaj Oledzki, Kruise Leeming, Matt Prior, Alex Mellor, Rhyse Martin, Brad Dwyer, Richie Myler, Cameron Smith, King Vuniyayawa, Bodene Thompson, Alex Sutcliffe, Sam Walters, Luke Briscoe, James Donaldson, Jarrod O’Connor, Jack Broadbent, Morgan Gannon, Kyle Eastmond.
Salford Red Devils vs Leigh Centurions (6pm)
Friday’s other match pitches two of the teams without a win so far in Super League this year against each other as Salford welcome Leigh to the AJ Bell Stadium.
The only time the Red Devils have tasted victory so far this season came in the Challenge Cup when they beat Championship side Widnes Vikings 68-4, while last Saturday saw them suffer a 42-6 defeat against Catalans Dragons in Perpignan.
Head coach Richard Marshall, who is without the suspended Andy Ackers and injured duo Kallum Watkins and Elijah Taylor, has backed his side to show a different side of their game on Friday though.
“We want to come through those sticky situations in games where we’ve not managed to hold out for longer periods,” Marshall said.
“The back-to-back tries at the weekend really hurt you. We spoke about that this week and the players are fired up for a really strong performance, for themselves and the club.”
Leigh are set to hand former Warrington and Wigan centre Anthony Gelling his debut after the Cook Islands international completed his quarantine period and began training with the team.
The Centurions come into this match seeking to bounce back from a 52-16 defeat to Castleford Tigers last week and head coach John Duffy knows what this contest means for both clubs.
“It’s a massive game for both clubs,” Duffy said. “I think Salford, like us, have had a tough start to the season.
“We know we can perform and hopefully we can do that this week.”
Salford Red Devils: Morgan Escare, Ken Sio, Krisnan Inu, Tui Lolohea, Kevin Brown, Lee Mossop, Sebastine Ikahihifo, Pauli Pauli, Ollie Robert, Greg Burke, Josh Johnson, Chris Atkin, Elliot Kear, Harvey Livett, James Greenwood, Rhys Williams, Matt Costello, Jack Ormondroyd, Jack Wells, Darcy Lussick, Dec Patton.
Leigh Centurions: Ryan Brierley, Matty Russell, Iain Thornley, Lewis Tierney, Ben Flower, Liam Hood, Mark Ioane, Ben Hellewell, Jordan Thompson, James Bell, Alex Gerrard, Matty Gee, Tyrone McCarthy, Craig Mullen, Keanan Brand, Nathan Peats, Ben Reynolds, Josh Simm, Anthony Gelling, Nathan Mason.
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