Super League: Hull FC v Hull KR preview
Last Updated: 29/08/14 12:38pm
Hull KR will look to complete a hat-trick of Super League wins over Hull FC this season when the two city rivals do battle KC Stadium on Friday night.
The Robins held on for a 21-20 victory in the first meeting of the teams back in round nine of the campaign, then triumphed 38-24 at Magic Weekend in Manchester in the middle of May.
Both those successes for the team in red and white came under the leadership of Australian coach Craig Sandercock, who has since departed the club. Now Chris Chester is in charge, with the 35-year-old recently handed the job on a permanent basis.
Despite results being mixed of late, a win over St Helens and a draw with Wigan being counter-balanced by losses to Salford and Widnes, Rovers remain firmly in the playoff picture.
They currently sit in ninth place in the table and with the Vikings taking on Warriors on the same evening, could find themselves in the top eight if results go their way.
That means more than just local bragging rights are at stake for Chester and his squad, while they will also want to give captain Josh Hodgson a win in his final derby match before moving to the NRL.
"There'll be mixed emotions between nerves and excitement for me but it's a massive game in our season," Hodgson – who is heading to Canberra Raiders in 2015 - said.
"It's going to be emotional. It's my last derby for a while and possibly my last one ever if things go well for me in the NRL. I'll be doing my best to win it and I'm sure the fans will be wanting us to make it 3-0 for this year over them as well."
A home defeat would be a double blow to Hull FC – not only would it mean they have lost all three games to their neighbours in the same season for the first time in the Super League era, it would also end their mathematical chances of making the post season.
With a five-point gap to eighth in the table and games against Huddersfield and Leeds to finish, the Black and Whites look a long shot to clinch a playoff spot.
Home coach Lee Radford is able to welcome back Aaron Heremaia to his 19-man party following knee surgery, with the New Zealander taking the place of teenager Jordan Abdull.
Richard Whiting has been ruled out for the rest of the year due to a wrist operation, so Jordan Thompson returns to the squad for the first time since the victory over St Helens last month.
Hull KR, meanwhile, will have to do without injured duo Ben Cockayne and Rhys Lovegrove, but are boosted by the availability of prop Michael Weyman after he missed the club’s last two matches with a leg injury. Winger Omari Caro and centre Kris Welham are also drafted in by Chester.
Hull FC: Bowden, Cunningham, Ellis, Green, Hadley, Heremaia, Horne, Houghton, Lineham, Paea, Paleaaesina, Rankin, Sa, Shaul, Talanoa, Thompson, Watts, Westerman, Yeaman.
Hull KR: Burns, Carlile, Caro, Chan, Costigan, Cox, Eden, Gardner, Green, Hall, J. Hodgson, Horne, Keating, Larroyer, Netherton, Salter, A. Walker, Welham, Weyman.