West Yorkshire rivals Bradford Bulls and Huddersfield lock horns this afternoon, with the Giants looking to avenge a brace of defeats suffered at the hands of the Bulls last year.
The Bulls sprung a surprise early last campaign by winning at the John Smiths Stadium, before dismantling a youthful Giants outfit in the final weekly round clash of 2013. That left boss Paul Anderson claiming his side are in the hunt for revenge – against a Bulls side who are again beset with absentees.
Two of Francis Cummins’ loan signings are unavailable; Greg Burke is out for several weeks with a dislocated shoulder, an injury he sustained on his Bulls debut last week at Hull FC. And Anthony Mullally – on loan from the Giants – is ineligible to play against his parent club.
That means under-19s forward Alex Mellor has been pushed up into the senior squad, and he will likely play a part as Cummins looks to beef up his bench. Luke George is back in the Bradford squad, too – and he could return against his former club, having been ruled out last week with concussion.
For Huddersfield, head coach Paul Anderson has named an unchanged 19-man squad, as he looks likely to roll out the same 17 who fought to a thrilling 12-12 draw with Leeds last time out. The only concern for the Giants is Jodie Broughton, who is doubtful with an injury. Should he not make the cut, Aaron Murphy will step in to replace the former Salford man.
Bradford Bulls: Addy, Bridge, Diskin, Donaldson, Foster, Gale, George, Henry, Kear, Kearney, Manuokafoa, Mellor, O’Brien, Olbison, Purtell, Roberts, Sidlow, Sutcliffe, Walker.
Huddersfield Giants: Grix, McGilvary, Cudjoe, Wardle, Murphy, Brough, Robinson, Crabtree, Kopczak, Ferres, Chan, Bailey, Lawrence, Faiumu, Ta’ai, Wood, Broughton, Kaufusi, Fairbank.
Bradford will be looking to record their 26th Super League victory over the Giants, with Huddersfield having only 10 wins to their name in the modern era over the Bulls.
Huddersfield will be looking to repeat a similar feat to last years Magic Weekend clash, when they posted their biggest ever winning margin over the Bulls – winning 42-6.
Jamie Foster needs 14 points to make up a total of 200 for the Bulls, whilst Luke George requires only two tries to reach a career total of 200 points.
Bradford look set to be in minus points for at least another week; Huddersfield will be brimming with confidence after that dramatic draw over Leeds. That, and Bradford’s lightweight pack should be enough to see Huddersfield home.