By Sebastian Sternik
Both the Huddersfield Giants and Castleford Tigers will be without key players as the two teams prepare for a big West Yorkshire derby.
Castleford’s Luke Gale, Zak Hardaker and Mike McMeeken have all gone to represent England in their upcoming friendly against Samoa, while Ben Roberts misses the game through a groin injury.
In response, Daryl Powell has decided to bring in Tom Holmes, Kevin Larroyer, Kieran Gill and Andy Lynch as the Tigers look to maintain their spot at the top of the Super League table.
Huddersfield, meanwhile, are set to make three changes ahead of the derby. Rick Stone has brought in Sam Rapira and Nathan Mason as Mikey Wood and Matthew English drop out of the 19 man squad. Also missing from their ranks will be Jermaine McGillvary. The winger is on international duty with the England team and replacing him will be Gene Ormsby.
Perhaps the biggest miss for Castleford will be Luke Gale. The 28-year-old has scored 168 points this season; this leaves him only 47 points short of the overall Huddersfield Giants point’s total.
The England international currently averages 14 points a game. To put that into perspective, the Widnes Vikings only average 14.7.
The lack of Jermaine McGillvary will perhaps turn out to be the biggest absence for the Giants. The winger is currently the top try scorer for his team with 7 efforts this season. However, with him out of the picture, the bookmakers fancy Darnell McIntosh and Gene Ormsby to do the scoring for Rick Stone’s side.
It’s fair to say that Huddersfield’s home record this season has been dire. With only one win from five at the John Smith’s stadium it’s no wonder that Castleford are considered the favorites. The Giant’s only home victory this season came in round two when they beat Wakefield Trinity 24-16.
But one recent result which could give the home supporters hope is the Giant’s latest victory over Leeds Rhinos last week.
Not only did Huddersfield ran five tries past the Rhinos at Headingley but they also remained resolute in defence and restricted Leeds to twelve points in what was an impressive 12-31 win. Could this be the turning point in the Giant’s so far underwhelming season?
Castleford, on the other hand, have been enjoying one of their best starts to a season in recent memory. Nine wins from their first twelve games sees Daryl Powell’s side lead the way in the Super League not only in terms of points but also value for money.
The Tigers are coming off a massive 54-4 victory over the current club world champions Wigan Warriors. However, two successive defeats on the road to Hull FC and St. Helens means Castleford are far from indestructible and a possible victory for Huddersfield could be on the cards.
Huddersfield Giants 19 man squad:
Jake Mamo, Aaron Murphy, Danny Brough, Sam Rapira, Ryan Hinchcliffe, Shannon Wakeman, Dale Ferguson, Kruise Leeming, Seb Ikahihifo, Olly Roberts, Paul Clough, Nathan Mason, Daniel Smith, Gene Ormsby, Sam Wood, Darnell McIntosh, Jared Simpson, Alex Mellor, Adam O’Brien
Castleford Tigers 19 man squad:
Rangi Chase, Matt Cook, Greg Eden, Alex Foster, Kieran Gill, Tom Holmes, Kevin Larroyer, Andy Lynch, Nathan Massey, Paul McShane, Grant Millington, Greg Minikin, Adam Milner, Joel Monaghan, Junior Moors, Jesse Sene-Lefao, Gadwin Springer, Michael Shenton, Jake Webster