WAKEFIELD TRINITY v LEEDS RHINOS
Saturday 27 March, 3.00pm, Emerald Headingley
Sky Sports Main Event and Arena
Trinity are in the unusual position of playing a ‘home’ game on the ground of their opponents.
And many believe it will take something out of the ordinary if they are to come anywhere near the play-offs this time around.
On their day, Chris Chester’s side have been a match for anyone, but consistency has been elusive in recent years.
Last season they were troubled by Covid as well as injury issues, and Chester will have been concerned to see his new Samoan international halfback Mason Lino nursing his ribs during the warm-up win over Dewsbury. He appears to have recovered though as he has been named in the squad.
Wakefield have a star forward in former Manly man Kelepi Tanginoa and one of the most exciting, and effective, finishers in Super League in Tom Johnstone.
They beat Leeds 30-6, then pushed them close in a 20-18 defeat the week after, late last season, and could really do with a confidence-boosting win in round one this term.
The same goes for Richard Agar’s Rhinos, who were similarly patchy at the end of 2020 and fell at the first hurdle in the play-offs, beaten by Catalans Dragons.
They suffered a heavy defeat by Hull in round one last year, and will hope new faces Zane Tetevano, a Kiwi signed from Penrith, and King Vuniyayawa, a Fiji international from New Zealand Warriors, help them get off to a better start.
Supporters will also be eager to get a sight of Kyle Eastmond playing Rugby League for the first time since 2011, but his fellow back Ash Handley will be missing with a medial ligament injury, while Harry Newman has not yet fully recovered from a broken leg and Robert Lui is also missing with a quad tear.
Match day 21-man squads
Wakefield: 2 Tom Johnstone, 3 Bill Tupou, 4 Reece Lyne, 5 Liam Kay, 6 Jacob Miller, 7 Mason Lino, 8 David Fifita, 10 Tinirau Arona, 11 Matty Ashurst, 12 Kelepi Tanginoa, 13 Joe Westerman, 16 James Batchelor, 17 Chris Green, 18 Innes Senior, 19 Jordan Crowther, 20 Joe Arundel, 21 Alex Walker, 22 Adam Tangata, 23 Josh Wood, 25 Brad Walker, 26 Yusuf Aydin
Leeds: 2 Tom Briscoe, 7 Luke Gale, 8 Mikolaj Oledzki, 9 Kruise Leeming, 10 Matt Prior, 11 Alex Mellor, 12 Rhyse Martin, 13 Zane Tetevano, 14 Brad Dwyer, 15 Liam Sutcliffe, 16 Richie Myler, 17 Cameron Smith, 19 King Vuniyayawa, 20 Bodene Thompson, 21 Alex Sutcliffe, 22 Sam Walters, 24 Luke Briscoe, 25 James Donaldson, 26 Jarrod O’Connor, 27 Jack Broadbent, 33 Kyle Eastmond
Key to victory: The two sides look evenly matched in the pack, but both teams are likely to have a new halfback each, and much will depend on whether Mason Lino forges a more effective partnership with Jacob Miller than Kyle Eastmond does with Luke Gale.