Stuart Jones gives us his best bets for the World Club Challenge and the two live Super League games this weekend.
"Melbourne arrive at Headingley with all their star names fit and appear to be taking this more seriously than Manly did twelve months ago"
Leeds Rhinos vs Melbourne Storm
These two sides meet for the third time in this competition at Headingley on Friday and it currently stands at one win a piece. The Rhinos may have home advantage, but Melbourne arrive at Headingley with all their star names fit and appear to be taking this more seriously than Manly did twelve months ago.
Zak Hardaker misses out for Leeds with a hand injury, though Brett Delaney and Jamie Peacock are set to return having missed their win over Salford. For Melbourne, Cooper Cronk, Billy Slater, and Cameron Smith are all named amongst a very strong looking nineteen-man squad.
The Australian Champions have won three of the last four renewals and the Storm look the stronger of the two sides on paper here. All three of those recent Australian wins fell within the 1-12 winning margin, and [2.74] about Melbourne winning the game by less than 12.5 points looks the best value bet on offer.
Hull FC vs Warrington Wolves
Hull have recovered well from their opening season loss to Leeds, and the injury of captain Gareth Ellis, backing up a comfortable win over Bradford with a hard-fought 22-22 draw at St Helens last Friday. Ellis is still to recover, but is the only real notable absentee for Peter Gentle's side.
Warrington maintained their unbeaten record in a feisty encounter with the Catalan Dragons at the Halliwell Jones on the same night, always looking comfortable as they won 24-16. Ben Westwood is suspended after his altercation with Brent Webb in that game and coach Tony Smith will also be concerned about their apparent weakness down the left channel.
The Wolves have already conceded four tries to the opposition's right winger this season and it could well have been more but for some sloppy final passes from Catalans. Jason Crookes has already bagged a couple of tries for his new side and looks worthy of an interest at [2.74].
Salford City Reds vs Hull KR
The City Reds prop up the table after just the three games and they are struggling to get the players they so badly need on board. Darrell Griffin arrives on a month's loan from Leeds, but they are still awaiting visas for their Aussie signings.
KR finally clicked into gear last week and had their game against Widnes won at half-time after storming into a 34-0 lead. That sort of attacking threat is a serious concern for a Salford side that are yet to complete a game without conceding in excess of forty points.
There is very little to suggest there is much improvement to come from Salford for the time being and Hull KR are a good bet to win this by more than 12.5 points