It should be a case of the table telling the truth in Super League tonight, as league leaders Hull FC look too strong for basement side Leeds Rhinos.
Both sides’ stories this season have been surprises, with Hull’s rise to the top probably somewhat less unexpected than Leeds’ fall from grace, which sees them resigned to the Middle 8s with three regular season games left to play.
Hull FC coach Lee Radford has overseen a superb turnaround in 2016, which has included 13 wins from their last 15 games. And it’s far from the beyond the realms of possibility that it could culminate in Grand Final success at Old Trafford in October.
They’re currently top of Super League on points difference alone, with Wigan breathing down their necks, making tonight’s Yorkshire derby a must-win if they want to go into the Super 8s as the league’s top side.
Prior to Hull’s defeat to Huddersfield last week, the Airlie Birds’ last defeat was way back in mid-April – against Leeds nonetheless.
Successive defeats for the first time since March will be the last thing on Radford and co.’s mind, so expect the Black and Whites to come out firing against a Rhinos side who’ve come out on top in the last five meetings.
There’s a new face in the Rhinos squad for tonight in James Segeyaro, the Papua New Guinean who arrived in West Yorkshire from Penrith Panthers as part of a deal which saw Man of Steel Zak Hardaker go the other way.
He’ll be keen to help the Rhinos secure their Super League status in the Middle 8s, and a morale-boosting scalp of Hull tonight would help give Leeds confidence ahead of what will be a nervy end to the season. Segeyaro is 3/1 to mark his debut with a try.
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All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing