Rhinos tempting on the handicap at the Jungle
Castleford Tigers vs. Leeds Rhinos
Friday July 5, 19:45 BST
Live on Sky Sports Arena
Stop me if you've heard this one before but there could be light at the end of the tunnel for the beleaguered Leeds Rhinos. The Headingley strugglers have had a couple of false dawns but put up one of their best performances of the season when beating Catalans 31-12 last week and could be the side to kick on from the quartet fighting the relegation battle.
New signing Robert Lui fitted in seamlessly against the Dragons and could be joined by another debutant in forward Rhyse Martin. The Papua New Guinea international is an established kicker and scored four tries in his first season with Canterbury Bulldogs.
Castleford enjoyed a big win themselves on Sunday, just their third in ten games, with a commanding 42-10 home victory over London Broncos to move into fourth in the table.
They've dominated this fixture in recent years, losing just twice in fourteen meetings since Easter 2015, which was the last time the Rhinos won at the Jungle. It's one apiece this season, with Daryl Powell's men gaining revenge for their Golden Point defeat at Headingley in March with an easy 30-8 win back in Leeds in round 15. Winger Greg Eden, the Tigers' top scorer with 13 tries, and Mitch Clark are back in Daryl Powell's side replacing Jake Trueman and Tuoyo Egodo.
The Jungle hasn't been the fortress of old this year, the three sides above Castleford all having been successful there, while wins for the Tigers over Salford, Wakefield and Huddersfield have come by margins of less than the six points Leeds receive on Friday.
That must make the visitors the bet on the handicap.
Saints to do some damage at Hull
Hull FC vs. St Helens
Friday July 5, 19:45 BST
St Helens look set to retain the League Leaders' shield in the coming weeks with many games to spare and can move ten points clear at the top of the table with victory at Hull.
Justin Holbrook's side weathered the storm against their nearest rivals Warrington last week, coming out on top 21-10 in a frenetic second half, and have now won an astonishing twenty games out of 22 in all competitions in 2019.
They are chasing a sixth successive win over the Black and Whites and have posted some big scores against them in recent times, including a 62-16 thumping at Langtree Park in April. The fantastic Jonny Lomax scored twice then and also notched a double on their last trip to Hull a year ago when they were 34-18 winners. He's crying out to be backed to notch anytime at 7/5.
The Airlie Birds are sitting pretty in third in the table but highlighted just why a Grand Final place may continue to elude them with another erratic performance in last week's 18-10 derby-defeat to Hull KR, coach Lee Radford commenting afterwards that his side were “out-fought and out-scrapped” by their neighbours.
The gruesome video of Joe Westerman popping his dislocated knee cap back in place during that encounter went viral and remarkably he's named in the squad along with the returning Albert Kelly.
St Helens look a great bet to cover the handicap of six, with Lomax strongly fancied to help out and add to his 12 league tries this year.