Venue: John Smith’s Stadium
Referee: Richard Silverwood
Huddersfield Giants: Danny Brough, Jodie Broughton, Jake Connor, Eorl Crabtree, Leroy Cudjoe, Jamie Ellis, Scott Grix, Craig Huby, Jack Hughes, Josh Johnson, Craig Kopczak, Michael Lawrence, Kruise Leeming, Anthony Mullally, Aaron Murphy, Ukuma Ta’ai, Joe Wardle, Kyle Wood.
Leeds Rhinos: Carl Ablett, Mitch Achurch, Paul Aiton, Rob Burrow, Adam Cuthbertson, Brett Delaney, Ash Handley, Zak Hardaker, Jamie Jones-Buchanan, Jimmy Keinhorst, Danny McGuire, Joel Moon, Rob Mulhern, Jamie Peacock, Kevin Sinfield, Brad Singleton, Liam Sutcliffe, Stevie Ward, Kallum Watkins
Last ten meetings:
Leeds 28-24 Huddersfield (SLR3 26/2/15)
Leeds 22-24 Huddersfield (SLR16 12/6/14)
Huddersfield 12-12 Leeds (SLR4 7/3/14)
Huddersfield 40-18 Leeds (SLR19 23/6/13)
Huddersfield 24-8 Leeds (CCR5 11/5/13)
Leeds 8-32 Huddersfield (SLR6 8/3/13)
Huddersfield 48-24 Leeds (SLR27 9/9/12)
Leeds 12-22 Huddersfield (SLR9 12/3/12)
Huddersfield 28-34 Leeds (SLPOSFE 23/9/11)
Huddersfield 24-31 Leeds (SLR27 11/9/11)
League leaders Leeds Rhinos travel to Huddersfield on Thursday night looking to bounce back from last week’s defeat to Warrington and re-establish a six point lead over St Helens at the top of Super League.
The Giants will be hoping to extend their recent winning run to three consecutive games after victories over Hull FC and Catalan in the last couple of weeks.
Huddersfield coach Paul Anderson makes just one change to the side that won at the KC Stadium last week, with 19 year-old hooker Kruise Leeming replacing Luke Robinson in the squad. Leeming will be hoping to make his first appearance of the season and the seventh of his career in Super League.
The Giants go into the game with the league’s best defence having conceded just 174 points in 12 games; and Anderson is confident his side can pick up the two points on Thursday; “We’ve got a lot of confidence in our defence and a lot of confidence in each other and that definitely helps,” he said. “You can tell the boys are out there enjoying themselves.
“There’s a togetherness and a camaraderie between them and it always helps, when teams are challenging, that you know your team-mates are going to have your back.”
The league’s meanest defence will be up against the best attack as the Rhinos look to return to winning ways following last week’s defeat at Headingley.
Brian McDermott’s side will be boosted by the return of Jamie Jones-Buchanan, who hasn’t featured since the end of March through injury but is named in the 19-man squad for Thursday’s game. He replaces Ashton Golding in the preliminary squad and could replace Stevie Ward in the final XVII, if the 21 year-old fails to recover from an ankle strain.
Prop-forward Rob Mulhern retains his place in the squad after making his first appearance of the season against the Wolves last week.
Jimmy Keinhorst is also included in the 19-man squad and will be hoping to make his first appearance of the season.
McDermott told the club website he is expecting a tough challenge at the John Smith’s Stadium on Thursday night – a ground they have not won at since September 2011; “They’re a good team, Huddersfield, and invariably play well at their place. The last few times we’ve been over there I don’t think we’ve played a poor version of them yet.”
Speaking of last week’s defeat McDermott said; “Nobody likes losing and probably it’s the performance that hurt us more than anything. We didn’t seem to get going – but then, at the same time, I don’t think we were that far off.
“These moments are frustrating but you’ve got to handle the losses.”
Prediction: Giants by 8 – This is a real tough one to call, but Leeds have won just twice at the John Smith’s Stadium since 2009 and Huddersfield have been pretty convincing winners in their last two games, so I’ll go for the Giants to just come out on top.