St Helens boss Justin Holbrook wary of Leeds threat

Justin Holbrook
Justin Holbrook

St Helens coach Justin Holbrook knows from experience not to underestimate the challenge of struggling Leeds on Friday night.

The Rhinos, currently joint bottom of Super League, finished outside the top eight in 2018 but still managed to win at the Totally Wicked Stadium and only five points separated the teams when they met there in February.

"They love playing against us," Holbrook said. "Every one of the games has been close. That is all I have known them as since I have been here.

"Obviously they're not happy with where they sit in the table but they have got so many dangerous players in their side so we know we have to play well."

After rotating his squad over the last fortnight, Holbrook intends to wheel out all his big guns on Friday with the exception of hooker James Roby, who is recovering from groin surgery.

"It was opportunity to freshen the boys up knowing that we haven't got the luxury of that international round we had last year," he said.

Leeds Rhinos Rhinos may have been struggling injury-wise for most of the season but interim coach Richard Agar is able to include 14 players in his squad for Friday's game who were on duty the last time the two met at the Totally Wicked Stadium on February 22.

Hooker Matt Parcell returns to the 19 man squad after completing a two game suspension and slots in to replace Tui Lolohea, who is away with the Tongan national side.

Jack Walker, who also played in the previous Roses battle, is included in the Loiners' squad as he looks to prove his fitness following a hamstring injury which ruled him out of the clash with Wigan Warriors at Headingley last week.

Likewise, Ash Handley is receiving treatment for an ankle injury he suffered in a 23-14 defeat against the Cherry and Whites, but he will be given as long as possible to prove his fitness.

It will also be England international Watkins' penultimate Super League match in a Leeds' shirt as he is due to link up with NRL club Gold Coast Titans on July 1.