Magic Weekend Preview: Leeds Rhinos v Wigan Warriors

Leeds Rhinos will hope to recover from a shock home defeat to St Helens as they close 2013’s Magic Weekend against Wigan Warriors.

Brian McDermott’s men lost 30-22 to a Saints side winless in five on Monday night and missed out on the opportunity to go third in the table. That defeat was the Rhinos’ first in eight Super League games and they will look to Magic Weekend as a chance to edge closer to the top two. 

Wigan remain three points clear at the top after thrasing London Broncos 64-6 last Friday, making it ten wins in a row for Shaun Wane’s side. Ironically, the Warriors’ last defeat came against Leeds at Headigley-Carnegie back in March as Rhinos ran out 18-14 winners. 

Head coach McDermott has named an unchanged squad for the trip to Manchester for Magic Weekend. Teenager Liam Sutcliffe retains his place in the squad having made his debut in Monday’s defeat to St Helens.The Rhinos are still without Jamie Peacock (knee), Carl Ablett (thumb), Stevie Ward (shoulder) and Ben Jones-Bishop but have a proud record at the Magic Weekend having won all their games at the event in previous years.

The Warriors welcome Matty Smith back to their squad after stand-off missed the games with Hull KR and London Broncos with a shoulder injury. Also returning to the squad is centre Darrell Goulding, who has recovered from a calf injury which saw him sit out the victory in the capital. Blake Green, Gil Dudson and Anthony Gelling all remain on the sidelines with ankle, neck and collarbone injuries respectively. 

Leeds Rhinos 19-man squad: Hardaker, Watkins, Moon, Hall, McGuire, Burrow, Leuluai, McShane, Jones-Buchanen, Sinfield, Delaney, Bailey, Kirke, Clarkson, Achurch, Moore, Singleton, Vickery, Sutcliffe. 

Wigan Warriors 19-man squad: Charnley, Crosby, Farrell, Flower, Goulding, Hansen, Hughes, Lauaki, Mcllorum, Mossop, O’Loughlin, Powell, Richards, Smith, Spencer, Thornley, Tomkins. L, Tomkins. S, Tuson.

Prediction: An entertaining and close match is in store but Wigan to make it 11 on the bounce – Wigan win.

Magic Weekend summary:

Leeds: Won 6, Lost 0

Wigan: Won 3, Lost 2, Drawn 1

(No previous Magic Weekend meeting)

Super League summary:

Leeds won 21 (includes wins in 2004, 2007, 2008, 2010 and 2012 play-offs)

Wigan won 28 (includes win in 1998 Grand Final and wins in 1998, 2002, 2003 and 2010 play-offs)

4 draws

Leeds highest score: 70-0 (H, 2005) (also widest margin)

Wigan highest score: 68-14 (H, 1996) (also widest margin)

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