Super League: Talking points and team news for Good Friday’s matches

We take a look at what is being said ahead of Good Friday’s Super League double-header, which sees Warrington Wolves face Leigh Centurions and Leeds Rhinos play Castleford Tigers…

Rhinos pay to play for Masoe

The second round of the Super League season has been dedicated to helping Mose Masoe and while fans have been purchasing virtual tickets for the behind-closed-doors games at Totally Wicked Stadium, Leeds’ players are doing their bit as well.

The players and coaching staff will each donate £20 for their match with Castleford which will go towards the Mose Masoe Foundation, which has been set up to help both the former St Helens and Hull Kingston Rovers player and other players who suffer spinal injuries.

Leeds Rhinos vs Castleford Tigers

April 2, 2021, 2:45pm

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Rhinos captain Luke Gale was delighted to throw his support behind Masoe, particularly after the way the rugby league family rallied around Leeds great Rob Burrow following his MND diagnosis.

“Everyone in the game has been touched by Mose’s story over the last year and he has been an inspirational figure,” Gale said.

“We saw first-hand at the start of last year how the whole game came together to support one of our own in Rob Burrow and I know this will be no different for Mose.

“When we spoke about it as a group, all the players and staff were on board straight away and I hope Leeds fans can join in to raise as much money as possible to support Mose and his young family.”

On the playing side, head coach Richard Agar could hand a debut to Fijian forward King Vuniyayawa following the 28-22 win over Wakefield Trinity last week.

Tigers aim to build on ‘gritty’ win

Reigning Man of Steel Paul McShane carried on where he left off in 2020 by being named Man of the Match as Castleford overcame Warrington 21-12 in their opening match of the season.

It included the hooker kicking the first drop goal of his career, although McShane was quick to credit half-back Jake Trueman for his role in the win.

For his part, the 31-year-old is not dwelling on last year’s achievements and was pleased just to notch up a win in week one.

“It was a gritty win,” McShane told Sky Sports. “I just went in there and kept it really simple. Truey dominated for us with the ball and he was outstanding.

“This year, it’s just about building on it (being named Man of Steel) and it has given us a lot of confidence, and I’m just looking forward to this year.”

The match will see Tigers skipper Michael Shenton and Liam Watts make their 400th and 300th career appearances respectively, but Gareth O’Brien and Jacques O’Neill are both out injured.

Named squads

Leeds Rhinos: Tom Briscoe, Luke Gale, Mikolaj Oledzki, Kruise Leeming, Matt Prior, Alex Mellor, Rhyse Martin, Zane Tetevano, Brad Dwyer, Liam Sutcliffe, Richie Myler, Cameron Smith, King Vuniyayawa, Bodene Thompson, Alex Sutcliffe, Sam Walter, Luke Briscoe, James Donaldson, Jarrod O’Connor, Jack Broadbent, Corey Hall.

Castleford Tigers: Niall Evalds, Derrell Olpherts, Peter Mata’uitia, Michael Shenton, Jake Trueman, Danny Richardson, Liam Watts, Paul McShane, Grant Millington, Oliver Holmes, Cheyse Blair, Adam Milner, Nathan Massey, George Griffin, Tyla Hepi, Jesse Sene-Lefao, Daniel Smith, Jordan Turner, Lewis Bienek, Lewis Peachey.

Referee: Liam Moore.

Warrington Wolves vs Leigh Centurions

April 2, 2021, 12:30pm

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Centurions’ learning experience

Leigh’s return to Super League taught them some valuable lessons which head coach John Duffy wants to see put into practice against Warrington on Good Friday.

The Centurions stormed into an 18-point lead against Wigan Warriors in the season-opener, but last year’s Grand Final runners-up turned things around to secure a 20-18 victory.

The way the Warriors hauled themselves back into the contest and then saw the game out after getting their noses in front are two facets Duffy wants his side to take particular note of for the clash with the Wolves in Friday’s first game.

“It was game management, what Wigan did when they got in front,” Duffy said.

“They didn’t get bored of doing the boring things and kicking us into the corner and letting us bring the ball out from there. We learned a lot going into another big game this week.

“We can get better and we will get better. We’re getting some senior players back in the next couple of weeks, so they’ll add value and we’ve got to learn from that.”

Among those who could feature is off-season recruit Tyrone McCarthy, a two-time Challenge Cup winner with hometown club Warrington, but St Helens loanee Matty Foster is unavailable after suffering a fractured jaw in the loss to Wigan.

Wolves eye improvement

Steve Price’s final season as Warrington head coach got off to a disappointing start as they were beaten by Castleford last Sunday.

Wolves prop Mike Cooper accepted the side were off both in the attacking and defensive parts of the game, citing an inability to build pressure on the Tigers.

Cooper, who is marking 15 years since his Super League debut, felt the players let Price down with the performance and is determined to right that when they take on the promoted Centurions.

“We were very disappointed with the performance,” Cooper said. “It wasn’t what we’d been building up to – we were way off.

“We didn’t build any pressure in the game and defensively we were a mile off. Since Pricey (head coach Steve Price) joined the club, it’s been our trademark, we’ve been really solid there.

“We let him and the staff down with the way we performed. It doesn’t matter who we play this week, it’s all about us. We didn’t hit any of our targets last week and we want to rectify that.”

Price has named an unchanged 21-man squad for the match, which means Wolves fans will have to wait a bit longer for Greg Inglis’ debut.

Named squads

Warrington Wolves: Matty Ashton, Blake Austin, Rob Butler, Josh Charnley, Daryl Clark, Jason Clark, Mike Cooper, Ben Currie, Chris Hill, Jack Hughes, Toby King, Tom Lineham, Jake Mamo, Robbie Mulhern, Joe Philbin, Stefan Ratchford, Ellis Robson, Josh Thewlis, Danny Walker, Gareth Widdop, Connor Wrench.

Leigh Centurions: Ryan Brierley, Matty Russell, Iain Thornley, Lewis Tierney, Blake Wallace, Joe Mellor, Liam Hood, Mark Ioane, Ben Hellewell, Jordan Thompson, Matty Wildie, Alex Gerrard, Nathaniel Peteru, Matty Gee, Nathan Mason, Adam Sidlow, Tyrone McCarthy, Craig Mullen, Keanan Brand, Nathan Roebuck.

Referee: James Child.

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