Round 6 predictions
Leeds Rhinos v Wakefield Trinity
Captain and half back Luke Gale makes a timely return for the Rhinos who have only recorded one win this year - that came against Wakefield in round 1. The Rhinos have lacked a leader in the halves and have had four different halves partnerships in the opening five rounds, something that has no doubt played a part in their slow start to 2021.
Trinity have had a luckless start to the year and will be desperate for a win against the Rhinos, in what will be a scrappy affair, as both sides try to rejuvenate their seasons. Contrary to the Rhinos, Trinity are still without their captain and half back Jacob Miller - a big loss to a side that have struggled to score points this season.
There hasn’t been much to separate the two sides in recent games, and I don’t think Friday will be any different.
Prediction: Rhinos by 6
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Castleford Tigers v Hull Kingston Rovers
If the two sides Challenge Cup meeting earlier this year is anything to go by, this could be a cracker!
Rovers have certainly improved their attack this year – they have scored over a third more points in the opening five rounds compared to 2020 – impressive given they were kept scoreless against Saints in round 2. However, their defence remains sketchy. They are still leaking lots of points and will need to fix that up against a flamboyant Cas side.
The Tigers edged past Salford in the Challenge Cup last week in another golden point thriller – something that is bound to catch up on them in the long run.
But with Castleford’s home advantage and fans back at the Mend-A-Hose, it may be enough to see them through.
Prediction: Tigers by 4
Hull FC v Catalans Dragons
Tough one to call. The black and whites return to the KCOM in front of their home fans after an impressive display against Wigan in the cup. The Dragons will be disappointed after being knocked out of the cup last week and will be looking for a strong response on Monday Night.
Hull’s sturdy defence has shown up well this year, so the Dragons will need to be at their best going forward to break FC down. However, the Dragons on their day can score from anywhere and certainly have the fire power to cause Brett Hodgson's side some problems.
I expect this one to be tight, but think Hull could pinch it.
Prediction: FC by 1
Leigh Centurions v Wigan Warriors
The Warriors will be out to right their wrongs from last weekend – a below par performance by their high standards saw them exit the Challenge Cup against Hull.
Leigh should be fresh after having a week off and excited about the prospect of playing in front of their home fans once again. Interestingly, the only time Leigh and Wigan have met at the Leigh Sports Village, the Centurions took the win.
Despite Leigh’s home advantage and their spirited performance against the Warriors in round 1, I think Adrian Lam’s side will be in an uncompromising mood as they look to avenge last week's Challenge Cup exit.
Prediction: Warriors by 20
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St Helens v Salford Red Devils
The Red Devils are yet to win away at Saints in the modern Super League era - in fact, it's been 41 years since they last beat the Saints away from home and will have their work cut out again on Monday.
It was fairly one sided when these two met in round 1 – Saints have been defensively sound all season whilst Salford have struggled for form, winning just one league game so far. Both sides were in action last week in tough knock out games – no more so than Salford’s golden point loss to Castleford on Saturday.
Saints have conceded less than seven points on average per game this season and all signs indicate they'll come away with the win in round 6 - unless the Red Devils pull off the shock of the season so far.
Prediction: Saints by 12
Warrington Wolves v Huddersfield Giants
Warrington have had the advantage over Huddersfield in recent meetings, winning their last six home games against the Giants. Ian Watson’s side have had an indifferent start to the year following plenty of hype during the off season – they’re one win from five in the league - but are showing signs of promise.
The Wolves have been one of the in-form teams in recent weeks and look much improved after a disappointing round 1 loss against Cas. It's set up to be a great contest and one which could go either way.
Prediction: Wolves by 2