SL Preview: Leeds Rhinos v St Helens

Leeds Rhinos have the opportunity to close the gap between themselves and second-placed Huddersfield to one point when they entertain St Helens on Monday night.

Rhinos sit in third, joint on points with Warrington and just three points away from the Giants, despite having played three games less than all of their top half rivals.

And they will want to put last weekend’s Challenge Cup defeat to Huddersfield behind them as a struggling St Helens side comes to town. 

Saints head into the clash with Leeds in ninth and are on a run of five straight defeats, their longest losing run since 1994.

Carl Ablett and Jamie Peacock both face spells on the sidelines for Leeds after picking up injuries in the cup exit. Centre Ablett and prop Peackock are both expected to be out for eight weeks, while teenager Liam Sutcliffe could make his debut at Headlingley Carnegie. 

Jon Wilkin returns from a two-game suspension to boost Nathan Brown’s underperforming Saints while Ade Gardner has completed a similar ban and is available for selection. Jonny Lomax and James Roby are both a few weeks away from full fitness yet and Francis Meli is ineligible as a depleted St Helens travel across the Pennines. 

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

St Helens 19-man squad: Wellens, Gardner, Turner, Soliola, Hohaia, Perry, McCarthy-Scarsbrook, Puletua, Wilkin, Manu, Laffranchi, Jones, Makinson, Ashe, Greenwood, Walmsley, Percival, Thompson, Howarth.

Prediction: Leeds to pile more misery on St Helens‘ season – home win.

Stats:

Paul Wellens needs 3 points to reach 1,000 for his career. Wellens has scored 941 points (215 tries, 40 goals, 1 field goal) for St Helens since 1998.

Super League summary:

Leeds won 24 (includes wins in 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2011 Grand Finals; 1998 and 2005 play-offs)

St Helens won 27 (includes wins in 1999, 2001, 2007 and 2008 play-offs)

Leeds highest score: 74-16 (H, 2001) (Widest margin: 70-0, H, 2004)

St Helens highest score: 62-18 (H, 1999) (Widest margin: 56-10, H, 2004)

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