Phil Spink offers his best bets from the televised games on Friday and Saturday and sees Warrington's perfect start continuing...
"Hopefully the Wolves can keep a lid on things this time and if they do they can cover the handicap..."
Leeds Rhinos vs Wakefield Trinity
Friday March 1, 19:45
Live on Sky Sports Arena
Many happy returns
Leeds Rhinos can make it a happy homecoming against local rivals Wakefield in Friday's televised game.
It has been the tough start many predicted for the new-look Rhinos, with defeats on the road to Warrington, Wigan and St Helens coming alongside a win at Salford. They've shown some real quality all the while though, including a fantastic spell at St Helens last week where they recovered from conceding two early tries to go in at half time 22-10 ahead. Centre Konrad Hurrell was most impressive and that hasn't gone unnoticed by the compilers, the Sportsbook making him the 17/2 favourite to cross first and 4/6 to score at anytime. Matt Parcell is the big name back in the Leeds squad as they return to the re-developed Headingley.
Wakefield have failed to repeat their fantastic start of 2018 and were getting off the mark at the third attempt with a Danny Brough-inspired 22-12 home victory over Catalans Dragons last week. They conceded eight tries on their trip to London in the opening round and that has to be a concern as they head back to a ground that has produced some high-scoring games between the sides in recent years. Prop Pauli Pauli looks set to return for Chris Chester's men.
Back Leeds to cover the handicap and also Ash Handley to score for a fourth game in a row. The in-form winger struck in both matches against Wakefield last season.
Catalans Dragons vs Warrington Wolves
Saturday March 2, 17:00
Live on Sky Sports Arena
Wolves to maintain perfect start
Warrington can make it four from four for the year and cover the handicap in France in Saturday's televised match.
Our ante-post selections have done everything right so far and were making it three wins on the bounce with a 32-20 success over struggling Huddersfield last week, their first victory at the John Smith's Stadium for five years. They won't look back fondly on their last encounter with the Dragons, the 20-14 Challenge Cup Final-defeat, but they have a good recent record against the French side otherwise, losing just twice in eighteen meetings before that, and they won 26-0 on their last visit to Perpignan a year ago. Steve Price has recalled the veteran Ben Westwood in just one change to last week's squad.
Steve McNamara's Catalans were unable to build on their first win of the season at home to Huddersfield when going down at Wakefield last week, a poor end to the first half costing them dearly. Their record in Perpignan looks key as to whether they can achieve a top-five finish and the visit of the Wolves will test their mettle. They've suffered a real blow with injury to last season's top-scorer David Mead, who will be out until May. Fouad Yaha is back from union for his second spell at the club.
Poor discipline has been an issue for both sides, the Dragons frequently getting on the wrong side of the referee at Wakefield, while Warrington have conceded 28 penalties so far this year. Hopefully the Wolves can keep a lid on things this time and if they do they can cover the handicap of six.