Rugby League: Key absentees make Tigers vulnerable

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RUGBY LEAGUE fanatic Andrew Day (@AndyDay81) returns with two fancies from Thursday night’s Super League action.

Huddersfield Giants v Castleford Tigers | Thursday 20:00 | Sky Sports

The strange decision to hold an England international fixture in the middle of the season has helped muddy the waters this week in Super League. Teams have been asset-stripped of their best stars and what effect that will have on this domestic round of fixtures is yet to be seen.

In the first game of Round 13, Huddersfield Giants take on league leaders Castleford Tigers. Last week Huddersfield went against the form book and gained a moral-boosting win over local rivals Leeds Rhinos.

That 31-12 victory saw the Giants leapfrog Leigh Centurions into 10th and went a long way to banishing the painful memories of their humbling Challenge Cup home defeat to second-tier side Swinton Lions.

Castleford continue to top the league after downing last year’s Grand Final winners Wigan Warriors 54-4 in Round 12. That result was even more impressive on the back of two straight defeats and they will hope a repeat of their 52-16 victory over the Giants in Round 7 is on the cards.

Key absentees

Huddersfield will be without star winger Jermain McGillvary and whilst this will undoubtedly leave them weaker than the week before, this is the only enforced change to their squad. Castleford, on the other hand, will be without four big players from their victory over Wigan.

Luke Gale – currently the league’s top goal kicker -, Mike McMeeken – the league’s third-best offloader – and Zak Hardaker – the league’s third-top metre maker – will all be absent for the Tigers.

Furthermore, Gale’s partner in crime in the halves, Ben Roberts, is also missing with a groin injury picked up in the win over Wigan. Gale himself is responsible for 40% of Castleford’s total points this term and without his ability to turn four points into six, this looks to be far bigger challenge for the Tigers than may be expected.

The offer of 10/11 for Huddersfield to win with a +14 handicap looks good value (William Hill).

T-R-Y Time

There were some big performances for Huddersfield in their win over Leeds last weekend, none more so than off season signing Jake Mamo.

Having missed the beginning of the season through injury the Australian now has three tries in three games and looks to be getting to grips with the Northern hemisphere game.

His pace and power from full back was a constant thorn in Leeds side and along with the fact his opposite number Zak Hardaker is missing, he is sure to be heavily involved again.

Betfred are offering 15/8 for him to touchdown at any time and that catches the eye.

Best Bets

Huddersfield Giants v Castleford Tigers – Huddersfield Gants +14 handicap (10/11 William Hill)

Huddersfield Giants v Castleford Tigers – Jake Mamo to score a try at anytime (15/8 Betfred)

Double pays 9/2 (SkyBet Request a Bet)

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