Hull, without a win this season, have been given a vote of confidence by their prop, Ewan Dowes, signing on for an extra two years.
Dowes is out of contract at the end of this season, but wants to stay with the club.
“I believe the club is going forward in the right way and we have a squad of players with the ability to win something,” he said.
“People might question that after losing our first two games, but I know we will turn that around and be in the shake-up for honours at the end of the season.”
Dowes is in the squad for tonight’s match against Wigan, along with the Hull captain, Lee Radford, who plays for the first time this season after recovering from a broken thumb. There are, however, still six regulars missing, whilst Wigan are still without Stuart Fielden.
Paul Sculthorpe and Willie Talau are both in St Helens’ squad at Bradford tonight and one or both of them could make their first appearances of the season.
The return of the prop, Kylie Leuluai, from flu gives Leeds the option of fielding their Grand Final winning side against the Catalan Dragons.
The game is Leeds’ last before facing the Melbourne storm in the World Club Challenge at Elland Road next Friday, but their coach, Brian McClennan, says that will not be a distraction.
“The Dragons will be a really tough examination for us,” he said. “They are a physical team who like to take teams on, so they will be an ideal team for us the play prior to Melbourne.”
Dallas Johnson will lead Melbourne in their warm-up game against Halifax tonight, in place of the absent Cameron Smith.
Ashley Klein, Australian-born but British-tutored, will referee next Friday’s clash.
Warrington have failed in their efforts to get the former Storm and Australia centre, Matt King, fit for the trip to Hull KR on Sunday. King has been having hyperbaric treatment on a torn calf muscle, but has been omitted from the Wolves’ squad.
Chris Bridge is out for the season, but Michael Monaghan is fit and Paul Wood and Stuart Reardon are back in action with the reserves.
Castleford’s centre, Kirk Dixon, is in line for his first appearance of the season at Huddersfield on Sunday having recovered from a broken toe.
Leigh will be without their big off-season signing, Dennis Moran, for two months with a back injury.
Doncaster have signed the young half-back, Kyle Briggs, from Leeds. The deal also includes compensation for Hunslet, the club to which Briggs had gone on a season-long loan.