Super League: Huddersfield Giants v Widnes Vikings preview
By Jonathan Doidge
Last Updated: 17/08/14 11:31am
Huddersfield head coach Paul Anderson has made just one change to his 19-man squad for the visit of playoff-chasing Widnes on Sunday.
Anderson, whose Giants team were beaten 22-20 at the Select Security Stadium in round three back in March, has recalled Jacob Fairbank to replace Kruise Leeming as his team look to keep tabs on the top five.
Should results go their way over the weekend, then the home side can realistically hope to move up a place in the First: Utility Super League table, though their points difference is likely to prevent them from going any further unless there are blowout scores elsewhere.
That, however, is unlikely to concern Anderson, whose no-nonsense style headed up his team’s charge to the League Leaders' Shield a little under 12 months ago.
However, the glory of that success was rather dampened by an early exit from the playoffs and although his team started more slowly this time, perhaps their coach has learned from last season and is gearing their challenge more towards the closing stages.
Despite the Vikings’ relatively tame performance in their Tetley’s Challenge Cup semi-final defeat to Castleford last week, they will still present formidable opposition to the Giants in trying to record their first victory at Huddersfield since July 1996.
Missing the suspended Willie Isa, plus both Alex Gerrard and Ben Kavanagh from last week’s squad, Vikings head coach Denis Betts has recalled winger Patrick Ah Van, plus Liam Carberry, the experienced Jon Clarke and prop Paul Johnson to his 19-man squad.
The Giants have won six of their last seven home meetings with the Vikings, with the sides also fighting out a 30-30 draw on 10 August, 2003.
Huddersfield Giants: Grix, McGillvary, Wardle, Murphy, Brough, Robinson, Crabtree, Lunt, Kopczak, Ferres, Bailey, Lawrence, Patrick, Ta'ai, Broughton, Kaufusi, Mullally, Connor, Fairbank.
Widnes Vikings: Ah Van, Allen, Brown, Cahill, Carberry, Clarke, Dean, Flynn, Galea, Hanbury, Johnson, Joseph, Leuluai, Marsh, Mellor, O'Carroll, Owens, Tickle, White.