Injury woes easing for high-riding Giants

 

It might be early in the Super League season, but the meeting of two unbeaten sides at the Galpharm Stadium today has the look of a match with some long-term significance.

Huddersfield have shown the eye-catching form, winning convincingly at Wigan then thrashing the outclassed new boys of Widnes. That looks like an even better start when you consider that it has been achieved against the background of a heavy early-season injury list. That pressure has eased this weekend, with only Luke O'Donnell and David Fa'alogo unavailable for selection against Warrington.

Eorl Crabtree, who plays his 300th game for the Giants, believes the new substitution rules suit him. With the reduction from 12 to 10 permitted changes, prop forwards are required to put in a longer shift. Crabtree relishes that and has shed 6kg (nearly a stone) over the winter to equip himself better.

Dale Ferguson and Keith Mason are back to provide extra options in the pack, but it has been in the outside-backs that Huddersfield have really been doing the damage so far this season. Against Widnes, their England centre Leroy Cudjoe scored four tries and the new signing from Wakefield, Luke George, three. Any criticism of Huddersfield for playing too tight and up the middle looks out of date.

Warrington's Tony Smith is likely to stick to the same formula that accounted for the London Broncos, which would mean an extended opportunity for the richly promising Rhys Evans on the left wing. He was the one back who did not score against Widnes last week, but Smith rightly praised him for an outstanding effort.

In today's other match, which has been brought forward to a 3.30 kick-off, the Catalan Dragons have Leon Pryce in line to make his debut against Castleford, who are likely to field the line-up that surprisingly lost at home to Bradford last week.

The Bulls will try to build on that success when Wigan visit Odsal tomorrow. They have lost Adrian Purtell and James Donaldson with pectoral and knee injuries respectively, but Keith Lulia could make his debut in the centres.

The Wigan coach, Shaun Wane, is able to call upon Liam Farrell again after the forward's one-match suspension.

Hull, who went all the way to Perpignan for a cancelled game last weekend, have their big off-season signing Brett Seymour in contention to make his debut against London Broncos. The Australian half-back injured his knee in pre-season training and it was feared that he would miss several weeks, but he has returned to full training more quickly than expected.

With their first-choice half-backs, Blake Green and Michael Dobson, both injured, the Hull KR pair Craig Hall and Lincoln Withers take their places at home to St Helens. Saints, who have an unimpressive record at Craven Park, are expected to throw in Michael Shenton for his first game of the season and to recall Louie McCarthy-Scarsbook after resting him last week.

There is a match that already has a distinct foot-of-the-table look about it at Widnes, where Salford are the visitors.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
Powdered colors are displayed for sale at a market ahead of the Holi festival in Bhopal, India
techHere's what you need to know about the riotous occasion
Arts and Entertainment
Larry David and Rosie Perez in ‘Fish in the Dark’
theatreReview: Had Fish in the Dark been penned by a civilian it would have barely got a reading, let alone £10m advance sales
News
Details of the self-cleaning coating were published last night in the journal Science
science
News
Approved Food sell products past their sell-by dates at discounted prices
i100
News
Life-changing: Simone de Beauvoir in 1947, two years before she wrote 'The Second Sex', credited as the starting point of second wave feminism
peopleHer seminal feminist polemic, The Second Sex, has been published in short-form to mark International Women's Day
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans campaign: Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after £300,000 gift from Lloyds Bank

Homeless Veterans campaign

Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after huge gift from Lloyds Bank
Flight MH370 a year on: Lost without a trace – but the search goes on

Lost without a trace

But, a year on, the search continues for Flight MH370
Germany's spymasters left red-faced after thieves break into brand new secret service HQ and steal taps

Germany's spy HQ springs a leak

Thieves break into new €1.5bn complex... to steal taps
International Women's Day 2015: Celebrating the whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Simone de Beauvoir's seminal feminist polemic, 'The Second Sex', has been published in short-form for International Women's Day
Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Why would I want to employ someone I’d be happy to have as my boss, asks Simon Kelner
Confessions of a planespotter: With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent

Confessions of a planespotter

With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent. Sam Masters explains the appeal
Russia's gulag museum 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities

Russia's gulag museum

Ministry of Culture-run site 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities
The big fresh food con: Alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay

The big fresh food con

Joanna Blythman reveals the alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay
Virginia Ironside was my landlady: What is it like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7?

Virginia Ironside was my landlady

Tim Willis reveals what it's like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7
Paris Fashion Week 2015: The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp

Paris Fashion Week 2015

The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp
8 best workout DVDs

8 best workout DVDs

If your 'New Year new you' regime hasn’t lasted beyond February, why not try working out from home?
Paul Scholes column: I don't believe Jonny Evans was spitting at Papiss Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible

Paul Scholes column

I don't believe Evans was spitting at Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible
Miguel Layun interview: From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

Miguel Layun is a star in Mexico where he was criticised for leaving to join Watford. But he says he sees the bigger picture
Frank Warren column: Amir Khan ready to meet winner of Floyd Mayweather v Manny Pacquiao

Khan ready to meet winner of Mayweather v Pacquiao

The Bolton fighter is unlikely to take on Kell Brook with two superstar opponents on the horizon, says Frank Warren
War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable