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Super League: Leaders Leeds Rhinos face Wigan Warriors at the Magic Weekend
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Leeds Rhinos will aim to extend their advantage at the Super League summit when they take on defending champions Wigan Warriors in the headline clash of the eighth Magic Weekend.
Brian McDermott's side reached the summit two weeks ago with a 28-12 triumph over the Warriors at Headingley Carnegie, but the champions will be eager to strike back at the Etihad Stadium.
Warriors stand-off Blake Green insists they had no excuses for that defeat but expects a significant response from his team-mates on Saturday evening.
"Coming up against Leeds will be good for us, they are the best side in the comp so far this year and the other week they were just too good for us," he wrote on the club's official website.
"We had no complaints that night and know that we must perform better on Saturday."
Rhinos are unbeaten in their last sixth Super League outings, while Wigan have won four of their last five matches to move within five points of the league leaders.
The sides enjoyed a Magic Weekend showdown for the first time last season and it was the Warriors who took the spoils in Manchester last term, winning 20-16 at the Etihad.
Wigan welcome back Greg Burke and Matt Bowen to their squad for the Magic weekend but the champions are still without a host of players for the clash.
Second row Burke is fit again after sustaining a shoulder injury playing on loan for Bradford Bulls in March and fullback Bowen is back after missing last week's win over Hull FC.
However, Shaun Wane is without club captain Sean O'Loughlin, Tony Clubb, Jordan James, Gil Dudson and Liam Farrell.
To cover for the Wigan's forward woes, 19-year-old prop Ben Austin is drafted into the squad and could make just his second appearance for the club.
Meanwhile, Brian McDermott has named an unchanged 19-man squad for the third week running as the Rhinos make the trip across the M62 and the Leeds coach is expecting a tasty encounter.
"It's a big game, big venue, it's fantastic there at the Etihad," McDermott told Rhinos TV. "Because we just played them recently it adds a little bit of spice.
"The fellas are really up for this, we know obviously when we played then that we would meet two weeks after so it's been a longer build-up than normal."
Ryan Hall and Ian Kirke, who both missed out on last Thursday's win at Castleford, join the 17 that won at the Mend-A-Hose Jungle.
Hall and Kevin Sinfield have appeared at all seven previous Magic Weekends for the Rhinos, while this will be the first time that Rob Burrow misses the big weekend as he recovers from his broken collarbone.
Warriors: Austin, Bateman, Bowen, Burgess, Burke, Crosby, Farrell, Gelling, Green, Goulding, Hughes, Manfredi, McIlorum, Powell, Sarginson, Smith, Sutton, Taylor, Williams.
Rhinos: Zak Hardaker, Jones-Bishop, Watkins, Moon, Hall, McGuire, Leuluai, Peacock, Ablett, Sinfield, Ward, Delaney, Bailey, Kirke, Clarkson, Achurch, Briscoe, Sutcliffe, Singleton.You can watch all of Super League's Magic Weekend live on Sky Sports 3 from 12pm on Saturday, and on Sky Sports 1 from 12pm on Sunday.
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First Utility Super League Table
|5||Hull K R||0||0|
|7||Salford Red Devils||0||0|
|First Utility Super League|
|Thursday 5th February|
|20:00||Widnes vs Wigan|
|Friday 6th February|
|20:00||St Helens vs Catalans Dragons|
|Saturday 7th February|
|15:00||Warrington vs Salford|
|Sunday 8th February|
|15:00||Huddersfield vs Hull|
|15:00||Hull K R vs Leeds|
|15:30||Castleford vs Wakefield|
|Thursday 12th February|
|20:00||Salford vs St Helens|
|Friday 13th February|
|20:00||Hull vs Warrington|
|20:00||Leeds vs Widnes|
|20:00||Wigan vs Huddersfield|
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