Super League: Leeds Rhinos v Bradford Bulls preview
Last Updated: 01/08/14 8:46pm
Leeds Rhinos go head-to-head with neighbours Bradford for the last time on Friday before the Bulls are relegated to the Kingstone Press Championship in 2015.
Brian McDermott’s Rhinos come into the contest at Headingley Carnegie boosted by last Friday’s win over Salford, while the Bulls stunned champions Wigan 16-8 on Sunday.
Leeds are second in the table two points behind league leaders St Helens while Bradford were already relegated prior to last weekend’s stunning win over the Warriors.
The Rhinos ran out comfortable 46-6 victors at Provident Stadium earlier in the season, although the Bulls did claim a thrilling 18-all draw at Leeds last season.
Teenage back Ash Handley is set to make his Leeds debut after being named in McDermott’s 19-man squad to face Bradford on home soil.
The former Oulton Raider has impressed with the club's Under-19s, scoring 19 tries in 17 appearances. He has been a regular in the Rhinos matchday squad but has not made his debut so far.
The Rhinos will be without Joel Moon (knee), Carl Ablett (elbow), Jamie Peacock (back), Kevin Sinfield (suspended) and have rested Kallum Watkins and Ryan Hall.
However, McDermott welcomes back Ryan Bailey and Ian Kirke (both concussion), Ben Jones-Bishop, Brett Delaney (thigh) and Mitch Achurch (knee).
“We’ve got an aim of getting top and we can’t look too far ahead or other goals will be lost,” winger Tom Briscoe told the Yorkshire Post.
“We need to keep racking points up to get as far up the table as we can and focus on that semi-final come the week after Bradford.
“I’m sure they’ll come out firing. They’ll be up for it knowing they’re relegated. They’ll be coming to prove a point especially in a big derby as well.”
Dale Ferguson looks set to make a long-awaited return to action for the Bulls after being named in coach James Lowes' squad.
Lowes has included the Scotland international along with Nathan Conroy, with the pair replacing the injured Brett Kearney and Jamie Foster.
On-loan winger Danny Williams keeps his place in the pre-match line-up after agreeing to extend to his stay with the club.
Leeds Rhinos: Hardaker, Jones-Bishop, McGuire, Burrow, Leuluai, Aiton, Jones-Buchanan, S. Ward, Delaney, Bailey, Kirke, Achurch, T. Briscoe, Sutcliffe, Singleton, Minchella, Walters, R. Ward, Handley.
Bradford Bulls: Blythe, Pitts, Olbison, Kear, Gale, Williams, Donaldson, O'Brien, Mellor, Henry, Baldwinson, Arundel, Ferguson, Conroy, Addy, Gaskell, Sidlow, Manuokafoa, Fakir.