Leeds Rhinos and St Helens looking to bounce back from League Defeats.


Credit: Ben Olawumi

A classic Super League fixture is played out on Friday night as Leeds Rhinos welcome St Helens to Headingley Stadium.

Both sides have had contrasting starts to the season. The Rhinos are down at the bottom level on points with teams below them.

The Blue and Amber army have only won one game so far this season, Beating Wakefield Trinity 34-18 but come into this fixture off three straight defeats including being dumped out of the Challenge Cup by Castleford Tigers last week.

Last week Rhinos did sack head coach Richard Agar leaving Ex Rhino Jamie Jones-Buchanan in charge for this game against St Helens. Chief Executive Gary Hetherington has updated supporters this week insisting that he will find the right man. Ex London Broncos coach Danny Ward, Former Featherstone Rovers chief Ryan Carr and Hull KR’s Tony Smith have all been linked with the job. 

The interim Rhinos head coach said his side need come out of the game smiling and happy that they’ve been to war. “I’ve seen lots of players over years finish games with broken limbs, torn muscles and fractured bones and They’ve come off smiling and happy that they’ve been to war.

“We’ve got learn to go to war and come out with a smile on our face.”

Buchanan also identified issues within the Rhinos squad and said that it would take time for them to start climbing the table but did see the game as opportunity to start building.

“It could be, There’s some underlying issues that need fixing up and it’s going to be a process of incremental games for us and build a season. Disappointment and joy always comes out the back of expectation vs reality. A lot of people are expecting a reaction.

“It’s a great opportunity to play Saints, not just to build our season but potentially to ask them some questions as well. If we get desire, passion and that emotion I’d be really happy.”

Visitors from Merseyside St Helens on the other hand are high flying at the top of Super League and are looking to retain the Super League Trophy. 

However, the Saints have shown weakness over the past couple of weeks. They lost out narrowly to Toulouse Olympique 22-20 in their last league game. 

Despite this slip-up, The Saints have marched and won most of their games fairly comfortably. Including a win over near-neighbours Warrington Wolves. 

Kristian Woolf’s side did also progress through to the next round of Challenge Cup last week. Beating championship side Whitehaven 46-4. 

Team News 

Rhinos make one change from last week’s defeat. Brad Dwyer misses out with a one-game suspension. He joins Zane Tetevano who is completing his two-game ban. With Dwyer dropping out, youngster Max Simpson is called up to complete the 21 man squad.

Tongan international David Fusitu’a is not included in the squad. He has gone under a knee operation and will miss out for a couple of weeks. 

Captain Ash Handley is set to make his 150th club appearance on Friday whereas Cameron Smith is set to make his 100th career appearance.

For the visitors, James Roby is named in the squad in what could be his landmark 500th appearance for Saints since he joined in 2004.

Alex Walmsley also returns to the squad after missing out with a hamstring injury. Morgan Knowles also returns after sitting out at Whitehaven. 

Regan Grace, however, misses out after picking up a knock in the Challenge Cup last week. He joins Will Hopoate, Matty Lees, Sione Mata’utia and James Bell who miss out through injury. 

Head to Head 

This fixture in the histories of both clubs has been played 73 times with St Helens winning 41 and Leeds winning 32.

St Helens are unbeaten in nine meetings, doing the double over Rhinos for three consecutive seasons. 

Last season, the teams met three times with St Helens scoring over 25 points in each game.

Follow us on Twitter @ProstInt


About Author

Comments are closed.