Leeds Rhinos are set to welcome back both Liam Sutcliffe and Mitch Garbutt to their matchday squad for Friday night’s visit of Huddersfield Giants, although they are without both Jimmy Keinhorst and Carl Ablett.
Both players suffered injuries in last week’s Challenge Cup quarter final victory over Leigh Centurions while hooker Matt Parcell also left proceedings shortly after being on the receiving end of a dangerous tackle from Peter Mata’utia. The Australian hooker has to pass the return to play protocol but, according to the Rhinos themselves, is set to feature on Friday.
As Leeds welcome back Sutcliffe and Garbutt, the visiting Giants are without three of their key players in the form of Jake Mamo, Danny Brough and Oliver Roberts. Brough, initially banned for two matches for a ‘crusher’ tackle, has seen that sanction increased by one game for an ‘unreasonable challenge’ of the decision. Mamo is ruled out with a serious knee injury and is likely to be absent for around six weeks.
Three academy graduates have been included in the squad and Oliver Russell is set to replace Brough in the halves for the trip to the Rhinos having made his debut a fortnight ago, winning Man of the Match in the 28-18 Super League victory over Widnes Vikings. Head coach Simon Woolford confirmed Russell’s involvement. “He’s got a good left foot kicking game. I watched him last weekend for the Academy, when it was clear he’s a really good talker. I think he is a young kid on the up and I think he will do a good job for us.”
This is the second time the teams have met this season having contested a 22-22 draw on Good Friday in Chris Thorman’s first match as temporary boss. Woolford has since taken control and Friday’s clash at Headingley – the stadium having recently increased the capacity in the South Stand as the ground is redeveloped – will be just his second game at the helm.
Leeds Rhinos squad: Golding, Briscoe, Sutcliffe, Hall, Myler, Cuthbertson, Parcell, Ward, Dwyer, Delaney, Garbutt, Ferres, Handley, Ormondroyed, Walker, Lilley, Smith, Oledzki, Walters
Huddersfield Giants squad: McGillvary, Cudjoe, Turner, Murphy, Gaskell, Ikahihifo, Leeming, Lawrence, Hinchcliffe, Rankin, Clough, Smith, O’Brien, Mellor, McIntosh, Wood, English, I Senior, Russell