Matterson fears Tigers could lose bite

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The Independent Online

The early-season euphoria surrounding two Super League clubs will start to evaporate for one of them at The Jungle this evening. In their different ways, Castleford and Warrington both turned in hugely encouraging displays in the opening fixtures.

For Cas, that came in the form of a totally unexpected win over the champions, Leeds, at Headingley, a ground where they had not won for over a decade. Their coach, Terry Matterson, knows that there is a chance of them reacting to that result in the wrong way.

"It probably makes their season, but there's a long way to go yet," he said.

Matterson says that the players who missed out on the experience have kept the 17 who played at Leeds on their toes in training this week. For that reason, he has not ruled out making changes to a winning side.

Warrington, by contrast, were always expected to beat a depleted Harlequins last weekend, but the style with which they did so strengthened the feeling that they will have a highly entertaining tilt at winning the competition this year.

Tony Smith is most unlikely to make any changes to a side that won 58-0, with Chris Riley's five tries emphasising that he intends to hang on to his place, even when Chris Hicks returns from injury.

Leeds' defeat has left Wakefield as the early season leaders and those two sides meet at Belle Vue tomorrow afternoon. Trinity have Matt Blaymire available for the first time this season, but he is not guaranteed to reclaim his full-back spot from Aaron Murphy, who has been outstanding in the first two matches. Leeds will be without the injured Brett Delaney, and Carl Ablett who is likely to be absent for several months.

As for Quins, they should look far more convincing at home to the Catalan Dragons tomorrow. Brian McDermott expects to have Ben Jones-Bishop and Karl Temata back from injury, Danny Ward from illness and Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook from suspension for the visit of the French side.

"To say that it a welcome boost is an understatement," he said.

Quins could also benefit from the Catalans' disrupted preparation, with five of their players waiting to hear whether they will be charged over a brawl in Leeds city centre.

On top of that, the Dragons will be without Remy Casty, suspended for a high tackle.

St Helens, who have never lost the first two matches of a Super League season, have Francis Meli back from compassionate leave and add Matty Ashurst to tomorrow's squad to face Bradford, who are likely to be unchanged despite their defeat at Huddersfield last week.