Super League: St Helens v Leeds Rhinos preview
Last Updated: 28/03/14 7:51pm
Table-topping St Helens welcome in-form Leeds Rhinos to Langtree Park on Friday in a mouth-watering clash, live on Sky Sports 1HD.
Saints maintained their 100 per cent start to the season thanks to their second-half comeback at Wakefield last weekend after Leeds, who are unbeaten themselves, brushed aside London Broncos on Friday night.
Leeds triumphed in two of the three meetings last season; they ran out 20-12 winners at Saints before losing at home 30-22 in the return fixture, although the Rhinos had the final say courtesy of an 11-10 play-off success.
St Helens might be top right now, but a string of injuries to key personnel has hurt their hopes of making it a perfect seven in 2014.
Head coach Nathan Brown is without play-maker Luke Walsh due to a calf strain. The Australian half-back had been in scintillating form prior to picking up an injury in the fixture against Catalan Dragons.
The home side are also without centre Jordan Turner while Kyle Amor, Jon Wilkin and Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook are all suspended. Youngsters Andre Savelio and Lewis Charnock are promoted to Saints' 19-man squad.
"Any coach would want to play with their best players and to be honest I would like to face a full strength Leeds team this week. Those games are good to watch and are a good challenge," Brown told the club's official website.
"We have confidence in the squad; they found a way to win at the weekend and we are confident we have a good shot whatever side we put out. Playing Leeds will be a real step up for our young forwards and give us an indication of their improvement from last year."
McDermott, in contrast, is able to welcome back skipper Kevin Sinfield, forwards Jamie Peacock and Brett Delaney and also centre Joel Moon.
Experienced duo Sinfield and Peacock were rested against the Broncos at Headingley while Moon and Delaney should shake off knocks in time to face Saints.
Close-season signing Tom Briscoe also returns, but he has the task of displacing either Ryan Hall or Ben-Jones Bishop on the wings. Chris Clarkson and Ryan Bailey miss out on the 19-man party.
"I am looking forward to it and I know all the boys are," Delaney told the Yorkshire Evening Post. "It will be a good test for us to see where we are at.
"We have been building, but this is a game when we've got to show what we are made of. They are playing well and they haven't lost, neither have we, so hopefully we can get a good performance on Friday night and get a win."
St Helens: Lomax, Makinson, Jones, Swift, Hohaia, Masoe, Roby, Soliola, Laffranchi, Flanagan, Wellens, Percival, Greenwood, Wheeler, Walker, Dawson, Richards, Charnock, Savelio.
Leeds Rhinos: Hardaker, Jones-Bishop, Watkins, Moon, Hall, McGuire, Burrow, Leuluai, P. Aiton, Peacock, Jones-Buchanan, Ablett, Sinfield, Ward, Delaney, Kirke, Achurch, Briscoe, Singleton.
Watch all the action on Sky Sports HD1 from Langtree Park as St Helens battle Leeds Rhinos from 7.30pm
First Utility Super League
Fri 21st Aug - Super 8s
Hull FC22 - 36Leeds Rhinos
Warrington Wolves0 - 28Wigan Warriors
Sat 22nd Aug - Super 8s
Catalans Dragons44 - 26Castleford Tigers
Thu 3rd Sep - Super 8s
Huddersfield GiantsvsCastleford Tigers
Fri 4th Sep - Super 8s
Leeds RhinosvsSt Helens
Sat 5th Sep - Super 8s
Wigan Warriors0 - 0Catalans Dragons
Sun 6th Sep - Super 8s
Warrington Wolves0 - 0Hull FC
Thu 10th Sep - Super 8s
Castleford TigersvsSt Helens
Fri 11th Sep - Super 8s
Wigan WarriorsvsHull FC
Sat 12th Sep - Super 8s
Catalans DragonsvsLeeds Rhinos
Sun 13th Sep - Super 8s
Huddersfield Giants0 - 0Warrington Wolves
Thu 17th Sep - Super 8s
Leeds RhinosvsCastleford Tigers
Fri 18th Sep - Super 8s
Hull FC0 - 0Huddersfield Giants
St HelensvsWigan Warriors
Sat 19th Sep - Super 8s
Warrington Wolves0 - 0Catalans Dragons
Fri 25th Sep - Super 8s
Huddersfield Giants0 - 0Leeds Rhinos
Hull FC0 - 0Catalans Dragons
St Helens0 - 0Warrington Wolves
Wigan Warriors0 - 0Castleford Tigers
Super League 2014, round seven
Bradford coach Francis Cummins refused to blame another week of off-field headlines for his side's defeat at Widnes
Paul Anderson admitted his side only have themselves to blame after blowing a 14-4 lead to lose 33-14 to Warrington.
Hull KR won successive Super League games for the first time since July with a commanding 44-6 victory over Wakefield.
- Wolves chase down Giants
- Widnes edge plucky Bradford
- Cunningham: One of our best
- Wane: We were below par
- Hull enjoy Salford stroll
- Tommy guns down Rhinos
- Rovers v Wildcats: Teams
- Vikings v Bulls: Teams
- Giants v Wolves: Teams
- Shenton 'back to his best'
- Broncos hammered again
- Roby: Wellens a role model
- Hull FC v Red Devils: Teams
- Warriors v Dragons: Teams
- Powell up for Broncos battle
- Cockayne grounded after win
- McDermott happy to rest stars
- Broncos v Tigers: Teams
- Saints pair miss Leeds clash
- Ellis wants winning mentality
- Official procedures
- Saints pair facing suspension
- Brown: Rhinos team to beat