Super League Preview – Round 9

It’s double trouble this week in the Betfred Super League as the arrival of the Easter weekend means two fixtures for everyone, starting with Huddersfield’s home clash against Catalans Dragons. There are also mouth-watering derbies on offer.

The standout fixture sees Wigan play host to rivals St Helens, their first match since dismissing head coach Keiron Cunningham.

Below if a preview of every game with exclusive insight from title sponsor’s BetFred

12 April 2017 20:00 Huddersfield v Catalans

It’s been an early season of struggle for Huddersfield, although they showed tremendous spirit to fight their way to a 14-all draw at St Helens last time out. Catalans halted their slide with a fine showing against newly-promoted Leigh Centurions on Friday, thanks in part to the return of talismanic full-back Tony Gigot. Huddersfield sit 10th in the table with two wins from nine matches and would leapfrog their French counterparts with success at the John Smith’s Stadium. The Giants will give a debut to Jack Mamo after he missed the start of the campaign after ankle surgery. Tom Symonds joins him in the 19-man squad as Dale Ferguson and Ukuma Ta’ai drop out. The visitors have prop Sam Moa available after he submitted an early guilty plea for an incident against Leigh. Head coach Laurent Frayssinous could have a debut to Lambert Belmas while Thomas Bosc and Paul Seguier also join the matchday squad.

Match odds:
 Huddersfield 4/5 Draw 22/1 Catalans 11/10
TGT says: Catalans by 12
Betfred says: Catalans seem to be performing better on the road than most of us thought and Huddersfield are looking mid-table – Huddersfield by 4

13 April 2017 20:00 Widnes v Warrington 3/1

Warrington’s first win of the season against Leeds last time means they pushed Widnes to the foot of the table ahead of Thursday’s meeting. The Wolves had gone seven without success to open the new campaign, but ended that in style with a fine triumph over in-form Leeds. Widnes were unable to follow up their impressive win at Leigh by slumping to a 30-4 defeat at Wakefield. Former Widnes captain Kevin Brown will not line up against his old club due to concussion. One of two absentees for Tony Smith’s men, the other being forward Mike Cooper. Smith has also recalled Benjamin Jullien and Andre Savelio. Widnes’ injury crisis is easing with the returns of Chris Dean, Greg Burke and Stefan Marsh for the visit of Warrington. Tom Gilmore, Keanan Brand and Manase Manuokafoa have all dropped out of head coach Denis Betts’ matchday squad.

Match odds:
Widnes 3/1 Draw 33/1 Warrington 1/4
TGT says: Warrington by 8
Betfred says: Warrington look to have turned the corner now and Widnes have been struggling and despite the rivalry this is going is only going one way and probably a significant one – Warrington by 12

14 April 2017 12:15 Wigan v St Helens

This is always one of the mouth-watering fixtures of the season! Expect a bumper crowd at the DW Stadium for a game in which both sides always perfect to the highest standard. The Warriors have been a little off colour in recent weeks, although injuries have taken their toll while Saints’ indifferent start to the campaign has seen head coach Cunningham part ways with the club. St Helens could join Wigan on nine points with success on the road, although Wigan will be eager to secure local bragging rights. Wigan have been boosted by the news England international George Williams has committed his future to the club. Not only is hooker Michael McIlorum available following a lengthy injury but the home side also have captain Sean O’Loughlin and winger Joe Burgess in contention. Sean Long, Jamahl Lolesi and Derek Traynor have taken the reigns following Cunningham’s departure and they will be hoping playmaker Matty Smith is fit to face his former club.
Match odds: Wigan 2/5 Draw 25/1 St Helens 2/1
TGT says: Wigan by 4
Betfred says: Saints axed their coach this week and that could be a catalyst for them to perform but this must be a Wigan win after their defeat to Castleford last week – Wigan by 10

14:30 Castleford v Wakefield

The Good Friday derbies keep on coming and Wakefield’s short trip to Castleford is sure to produce a keenly-contested affair. Trinity have been one of the teams to beat this year following a slow start, although Castleford are the early Grand Final favourites having blown all in their path except Salford so far in 2017. Tigers head coach Darryl Powell has made just one change from last week with Grant Millington replacing centre Michael Shenton in his 19-man squad. Wakefield boss Chris Chester has made two changes to his matchday squad on the back of their impressive win over lowly Widnes. James Batchelor and Anthony Walker drop out to be replaced by Anthony England and Mason Caton-Brown as Trinity look to bag a fourth successive win.
Match odds: Castleford 1/12 Draw 33/1 Wakefield 13/2
TGT says: Castleford by 14
Betfred says: This weekend this looks quite predictable, they are now favourites to win Grand Final and I can see them winning by 16

15:00 Hull v Leeds

Leeds will be hoping to return to winning ways after being upset by Warrington last time out, although the Black and Whites need a response of their own having been thumped at home by Salford. Leeds sit third in the table with six wins from nine while Lee Radford’s men are just the Rhinos with a game in hand. The home side welcome back playmaker Albert Kelly following compassionate leave while key duo Scott Taylor and Gareth Ellis are also back in Hull FC’s squad. Leeds’ Australian prop Keith Galloway would make his first appearance of the campaign while Stevie Ward is also available for head coach Brian McDermott. Although the visitors have the bad news that Carl Ablett (knee) and Jimmy Keinhorst (hand) are out for the foreseeable future.
Match odds: Hull 8/11 Draw 20/1 Leeds 6/5
TGT says: Hull by 4
Betfred says: This is the hardest one to call of the weekend, but I think Hull might just edge it because of the home advantage – so I would go for Hull by 4

15:00 Salford v Leigh

Salford have been the surprise package of the new campaign and victory over Leigh could see them level on points with leaders Castleford. Owner Marwan Koukash has spent big in recent seasons moulding a team capable of honours and his hard work and endeavor looks to finally paying dividends. Ian Watson has his troops playing excellent rugby league and they will be the favourites to see off newly-promoted Leigh. The Centurions hit the ground running but they have found positive results hard to come by of late, including being thumped at home by Catalans Dragons last week. Watson has named an unchanged Salford squad while Adam Higson, Dayne Weston, Jamie Acton come in for a Leigh side who have lost three straight.
Match odds: Salford 2/11 Draw 25/1 Leigh 4/1
TGT says: Salford by 18
Betfred says: It is hard to back anyone against Salford and in this game, it is almost impossible to back Leigh – so Salford by 10

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