Percival braced for Headingley battle

St Helens centre Mark Percival
St Helens centre Mark Percival
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St Helens centre Mark Percival insists the Betfred Super League leaders will not underestimate the challenge posed by injury-hit Leeds at Headingley on Friday night.

The defending champions have nine regulars missing through injury, including scrum-half Richie Myler who loses his ever-present record after being concussed in the home loss to Huddersfield.

That was a fourth straight league defeat and it leaves Leeds struggling to make the top four.

Saints have lost only twice this season but one of the defeats was at home to Leeds, who also beat them twice at Headingley in 2017, each time by a two-point margin, a fact not lost on Percival.

“We’ve never had that much success against Leeds,” said the England international.

“We always seem to come up short or just don’t play like we do every week. We were really up for the game against them earlier in the year but we didn’t really turn up.

“Every time you go up against them, you know what they’re capable of.

“They’ve got really good players like Ryan Hall, Tom Briscoe and Stevie Ward and I feel, if you can control their individuals, you’ll go well against Leeds but it’s always a tough game. They’re the champions for a reason.”

Leeds’ England winger Ryan Hall says the Rhinos are used to coping with adversity, pointing to the way they bounced back from their catastrophic season in 2016 to regain their crown.

“It doesn’t get any easier,” said Hall of the visit of the in-form table-toppers. “It’s quite obvious that we’ve got a massive injury list at the moment and that is probably contributing to the losses that we’ve had.

“But if you put those injuries to one side, I don’t think we’ve played well enough to get the wins.

“We’ve a lot of work to do but we’ve been in this sort of situation before and the way out of it is through hard work. We know that.”