McNamara refusing to panic as Bradford look to kick-start season

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The Independent Online

Two sides disappointed by their opening performances of the campaign try to get their Super League seasons started when Huddersfield go to Bradford tonight. The Giants were soundly beaten at home by Leeds last weekend, while the Bulls were edged out by Wakefield.

The Bradford coach, Steve McNamara, does not intend to read too much into that result. "There were enough signs for me that we are going to be a very good side as the season progresses," he said.

He is without Tame Tupou this evening with a rib injury, with Dave Halley in the squad as the likely replacement on the wing, while Chris Nero faces his old team-mates for the first time since his move to Odsal.

Jon Sharp recalls Stuart Jones to the Giants' pack after injury, but will want more from his half-backs, Kevin Brown and Luke Robinson, than they showed against the Rhinos.

Hull KR, boosted by their win over St Helens, go to Perpignan tonight to play the Catalan Dragons, but they must do it without Chev Walker, who has been left at home with a recurrence of a shin injury. The former Scotland rugby union winger, Jon Steel, has been added to Rovers' squad in his place.

The Dragons, on the other hand, have a high-class centre returning with the recovery of Adam Mogg from a hamstring strain. The wingman, Dimitri Pelo, is also fit to return. Rovers' neighbours, Hull, host the only Super League match tomorrow, when Harlequins are the visitors.

Hull could start to make some modest inroads into their injury list with the return of the Great Britain winger, Gareth Raynor, but there are still seven regulars left out of the squad.

Quins squandered a 12-point lead in the last half-hour to lose at home to Wigan last weekend. Their coach, Brian McDermott, was adamant that fitness was not the problem, but they will be watched closely for their ability to go the distance tomorrow.

The Melbourne Storm coach, Craig Bellamy, has named his squad to face Leeds in the World Club Challenge at Elland Road on 29 February. He will be without Greg Inglis and Michael Crocker through injury, while his captain, Cameron Smith, is staying in Australia for the birth of his child. Storm flexed their muscles with a 56-10 thrashing of Grand Final runners-up Manly yesterday.

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