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Super League: Talking points and team news for Saturday and Sunday's fixtures

There are four Betfred Super League fixtures to close out Round 2 this weekend; Saturday - Hull FC vs St Helens (12.30pm), Huddersfield Giants vs Hull Kingston Rovers (3pm), Catalans Dragons vs Wakefield Trinity (5pm GMT); Sunday - Salford Red Devils vs Toulouse Olympique (3pm)

Picture by Allan McKenzie/ - 13/02/2022 - Rugby League - Betfred Super League Round 1 - Wakefield Trinity v Hull FC - Beaumont Legal Stadium, Wakefield, England - Wakefield's Tom Johnstone (c) is congratulated on a try against Hull FC by Jacob MIller & Corey Hall.
Image: Wakefield are feeling positive ahead of a potentially tricky trip to Grand Final runners-up Catalans

We look at what is being said and team news ahead of this weekend's four Betfred Super League matches, including Saturday evening's clash between Catalans Dragons and Wakefield Trinity, live on Sky Sports...

Catalans Dragons vs Wakefield Trinity (Sat, 5pm GMT, live on Sky Sports)

Saturday evening's Super League match in Perpignan, which is live on Sky Sports Mix, pits two teams aiming to chalk up their first wins of the season - albeit having finished at opposite ends of the table in 2021.

League Leaders' Shield winners and Grand Final runners-up Catalans Dragons were beaten 28-8 by reigning champions St Helens in their opening game, while Wakefield Trinity were edged out 16-12 at home to Hull FC.

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Trinity head coach Willie Poching was somewhat downcast after that home loss, but having reviewed the video of the match he has taken encouragement from his side's performance as they face a tough trip to France.

"[I am] pretty optimistic coming away from [Sunday's game] and doing a review and going through it and cutting it up," Poching said. "I took a lot more heart out of it than I did when I walked away - I was a bit frustrated in the immediate aftermath.

"It was more so at the number of opportunities we had, and we blew, but we weren't so far off when I had a look at it."

Wakefield have lost their last eight matches to Catalans in all competitions since beating the French club 22-12 in the third round of the 2019 Super League season.

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Highlights as Wakefield Trinity took on Hull FC in the Super League.

The Dragons are without Dylan Napa, who was handed a four-match ban following his red card against Saints, and Gil Dudson, who has also received a one-game suspension.

Meanwhile, Julian Bousquet joins Arthur Mourgue on the sidelines due to suffering a displaced arm fracture which requires surgery in the loss at Totally Wicked Stadium.

Named squads

Catalans Dragons: Tom Davies, Samisoni Langi, Dean Whare, Fouad Yaha, Mitchell Pearce, Josh Drinkwater, Micky McIlorum, Matt Whitley, Mike McMeeken, Benjamin Garcia, Alrix Da Costa, Benjamin Jullien, Paul Seguier, Mickael Goudemand, Matthieu Laguerre, Arthur Romano, Tyrone May, Jordan Dezaria, Joe Chan, Sam Kasiano, Sam Tomkins.

Wakefield Trinity: Max Jowitt, Tom Johnstone, Tom Lineham, Mason Lino, Eddie Battye, Liam Hood, Tinirau Arona, Matty Ashurst, Jay Pitts, Jordy Crowther, Jai Whitbread, James Batchelor, Liam Kay, Brad Walker, Yusuf Aydin, Sadiq Adebiyi, Harry Bowes, Sam Eseh, Lewis Murphy, Isaac Shaw, Corey Hall.

Hull FC vs St Helens (Sat, 12.30pm)

The death of Johnny Whiteley MBE earlier this week hit hard across the rugby, but perhaps no more so than in his home city of Hull and particularly at Hull FC where he spent his entire playing career and later served as head coach.

The Black and Whites will be holding a special ceremony commemorating Whiteley's life ahead of their Saturday lunchtime match against St Helens, which will include his great grandchildren, Jack and Leo, delivering the match ball and a minute's silence.

Current head coach Brett Hodgson is one person who Whiteley made a big impression on even though they had only spoken a handful of times and the Australian is keen to ensure the day is a fitting way to honour the former Great Britain international.

"We'll be looking to honour him this weekend, with our performance and plenty happening around the game too," Hodgson said.

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A tribute to the Hull and Great Britain rugby league legend Johnny Whiteley MBE. 'Gentleman John' was hailed as one of the greatest ever rugby league players and spent his entire playing career with hometown club Hull.

"Saturday will be an emotional day for all, but it will also be an opportunity to celebrate what he has achieved in the sport and beyond.

"I think it's important that we appreciate what he has done for the club, and ensure his memory lives on."

Hull go into the match without Jake Connor after he was handed a one-match ban for a red card against Wakefield, with Andre Savelio also banned for two games and Carlos Tuimavave out with a hamstring injury.

St Helens, meanwhile, have named an unchanged squad, with Mark Percival cleared to play and Will Hopoate and Sione Mata'utia fit after being forced off in the closing stages of the win over Catalans.

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Highlights of the Super League season opener between St Helens and Catalans Dragons.

Named squads

Hull FC: Adam Swift, Josh Griffin, Darnell McIntosh, Josh Reynolds, Luke Gale, Ligi Sao, Danny Houghton, Chris Satae, Jordan Lane, Joe Lovodua, Brad Fash, Ben McNamara, Jack Brown, Jordan Johnstone, Connor Wynne, Cameron Scott, Mitieli Vulikijapani, Marcus Walker, Aidan Burrell, Jamie Shaul, Charlie Severs.

St Helens: Jack Welsby, Tommy Makinson, Will Hopoate, Mark Percival, Jonny Lomax, Lewis Dodd, Alex Walmsley, James Roby, Matty Lees, Sione Mata'utia, Joe Batchelor, Morgan Knowles, Joey Lussick, Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook, Curtis Sironen, Agnatius Paasi, Kyle Amor, Jake Wingfield, Josh Simm, Ben Davies, Konrad Hurrell.

Huddersfield Giants vs Hull Kingston Rovers (Sat, 3pm)

Huddersfield Giants avoided the potential banana skin away to Super League newcomers Toulouse Olympique last Saturday after going 10-0 down early on and fighting back to triumph 42-14.

They now aim to back that up in their first competitive outing of the year at John Smith's Stadium when Hull Kingston Rovers visit, with Jermaine McGillvary and Ricky Leutele both returning to the squad after missing last week's match in France.

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Highlights as Toulouse Olympique hosted Huddersfield Giants in their first Betfred Super League match.

A win over one of last year's play-off semi-finalist would be another boost for Ian Watson's side and ahead of the match, forward Luke Yates has made no secret of the club's ambitions in 2022.

"We've got a big emphasis on the defensive side of things here at the Giants and we want to be in that top four or top two," Yates said.

"If we're thereabouts we're going to be competing for trophies, where we think the Giants should be and where we believe we should be.

"It will mean a lot to get on the front foot early in this season and put some wins together, so that's what we've got to do."

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Highlights of Hull Kingston Rovers' home game again Wigan Warriors in the Betfred Super League.

The Robins head to Huddersfield aiming to rebound from a 24-10 defeat at home to Wigan Warriors in their opening match.

Ethan Ryan and Elliot Minchella both return to Tony Smith's 21-man squad after recovering from injury, but Albert Vete starts a two-match suspension.

Named squads

Huddersfield Giants: Jermaine McGillvary, Ricky Leutele, Tui Lolohea, Theo Fages, Chris Hill, Danny Levi, Michael Lawrence, Josh Jones, Chris McQueen, Luke Yates, Matty English, Joe Greenwood, Owen Trout, Sebastine Ikahihifo, Adam O'Brien, Oliver Wilson, Leroy Cudjoe, Louis Senior, Oliver Russell, Innes Senior, Olly Ashall-Bott.

Hull Kingston Rovers: Lachlan Coote, Brad Takairangi, Shaun Kenny-Dowall, Ryan Hall, Jordan Abdull, Matt Parcell, George King, Dean Hadley, Kane Linnett, Matty Storton, Jez Litten, Korbin Sims, Elliot Minchella, Jimmy Keinhorst, Will Dagger, Mikey Lewis, Ethan Ryan, Sam Wood, Greg Richards, Tom Garratt, Frankie Halton.

Salford Red Devils vs Toulouse Olympique (Sun, 3pm)

Paul Rowley is preparing Salford Red Devils for a trip into the unknown when they welcome Toulouse Olympique to the AJ Bell Stadium and seek to build on a 26-16 win away to Castleford Tigers in their season-opener.

The Red Devils head coach has some idea of the dangers Sylvain Houles' side will pose from his experiences facing them during his time coaching in the Championship.

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Highlights as Salford Red Devils defeated Castleford Tigers in the Betfred Super League.

However, the team has undergone several changes since those days and Rowley believes they still have several unknowns up their sleeves.

"It's the unknown, isn't it? Expect the unexpected when you're dealing with people like Tony Gigot," Rowley said. "Then they've got some real experience in [Dom] Peyroux, [Joseph] Paulo and people like Andrew Dixon.

"They're a very, very dangerous side…they've got a great coach and we need to be at our best."

Houles has still not named Mark Kheirallah in the Toulouse 21-man squad despite him being available, while Harrison Hansen, Latrell Schaumkel, Gadwin Springer, Mathieu Jussaume and Dom Peyroux are all missing due to injury.

Named squads

Salford Red Devils: Ryan Brierley, Ken Sio, Tim Lafai, Joe Burgess, Brodie Croft, Marc Sneyd, Sitaleki Akauola, Andy Ackers, Greg Burke, Shane Wright, James Greenwood, Elijah Taylor, Danny Addy, King Vuniyayawa, Ryan Lannon, Chris Atkin, Rhys Williams, Dan Sarginson, Sam Luckley, Deon Cross, Alex Gerrard.

Toulouse Olympique: Junior Vaivai, Paul Marcon, Lucas Albert, Romain Navarrete, Lloyd White, Andrew Dixon, Anthony Marion, Eloi Pelissier, Maxime Puech, Joseph Bretherton, Joseph Paulo, Mitch Garbutt, James Cunningham, Chris Hankinson, Justin Sangare, Guy Armitage, Matty Russell, Hugo Pezet, Tony Gigot, Maxime Stefani.

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