23 May 2019

THE LOWDOWN: MAGIC WEEKEND

All the information you need to know ahead of the Giants trip to Magic Weekend

Hull FC are Huddersfield’s opponents at this year’s Dacia Magic Weekend. The two sides have never played each other at the unique event.

The Brief

Both sides picked up big wins last weekend. With the Giants defeating Hull KR 30-22 to drag themselves away from the dreaded drop, whilst Hull FC defeated second placed Warrington, 19-12 at the Halliwell Jones Stadium. A win for the Giants will move them to just four points adrift of Hull FC.

Team News

Hull FC: 1. Jamie Shaul, 4. Josh Griffin, 6. Albert Kelly, 7. Marc Sneyd , 8. Scott Taylor, 9. Danny Houghton, 10. Josh Bowden, 11. Dean Hadley, 12. Mark Minichiello, 13. Joe Westerman, 14. Jake Connor, 15. Chris Green, 19. Masi Matongo, 20. Brad Fash, 21. Sika Manu, 23. Mickey Paea, 30. Danny Washbrook, 33. Ratu Naulago, 38. Kieran Buchanan

The Opposition

Hull FC currently sit in fourth place in the Betfred Super League table, winning nine of their opening fifteen games.

The black and whites lost their opening two games of the season, which included a last gasp Jimmy Keinhorst try, which saw them lose 18-16 to rivals Hull KR. They did win their third game in golden point though, beating reigning Super League champions Wigan 23-22 at the DW Stadium.

The black and whites won their next two games after success at Wigan, which included a 28-8 victory over the Giants at the John Smith’s Stadium.

They then lost at Wakefield before narrowly beating the London Broncos. Warrington Wolves then beat Hull 63-12 at the KCOM Stadium.

Two gritty wins followed, as they won 23-16 at the Salford Red Devils, before once again winning in golden point, beating the Catalans Dragons 31-30 in the South of France. That was followed by a massive 56-12 win over local rivals Hull KR on Good Friday.

In the off-season, the black and whites made some new signings ahead of the 2019 season. Among the new names brought in were Matty Dawson-Jones, Jordan Thompson and Levy Nzoungou. Andre Savelio has been another recruitment since the season began.

Dawson-Jones unfortunately suffered what was described as a ‘season ending injury’ during a training session. The winger scored in his only appearance for the East Yorkshire club. Thompson has appeared in twelve games for the black and whites since returning to the club where he played between 2014 and 2017.

Nzoungou is still a young talent coming through. He was highly thought of when at St Helens, but he opted to try his hand in the NRL by signing for the Melbourne Strom. He didn’t play a game for the Australian side before heading to Toulouse in 2017. Savelio is another talent who came through the St Helens academy. He joined Hull FC from the Brisbane Broncos, where he suffered a serious knee injury before the 2018 NRL season.

Form

The last five games for both sides has seen them play four Betfred Super League games, whilst also playing one each in the Ladbrokes Challenge Cup.

The Giants have won two of their previous five games in all competitions. Their two wins have come against the London Broncos and also Hull KR, two sides below the Giants in the table. A 24-19 triumph against the Broncos was the oldest of the last fives games, whilst the 30-22 victory over the Robins is the most recent games they played in.

The defeats came against high flyers St Helens in the Challenge Cup, whilst also losing to second placed Warrington and Wakefield Trinity in the league.

Meanwhile, Hull have also played the three teams to beat Huddersfield in their last five games. A 62-16 away defeat at St Helens was followed by a 30-14 victory at home to Wakefield. Their latest victory was a 19-12 win against the Warrington Wolves.

Their other two games saw them beaten by the Catalans Dragons 37-6 at the KCOM, whilst they advanced in the Challenge Cup by beating the Castleford Tigers 28-12.

Key Player 

Lee Gaskell

Lee Gaskell has been a key figure for the Giants so far this season. The half-back has appeared in Grand Finals in the past, so his wealth of experience is key to guiding the Giants around the field. Like Connor, Gaskell is also versatile, and has also played as a full-back, centre and a half-back. Gaskell is also the main Giants goal-kicker when trying to turn four pointers into six.

Key Battle

Darnell McIntosh v Jamie Shaul

The full-backs of both sides will be looking to keep their errors to a nought this weekend on the big stage at Anfield. Both McIntosh and Shaul have made impressive starts to the current Betfred Super League season and will be looking to guide their teams to two points on Saturday afternoon. Picking the ball up cleanly when in defence could be a big factor this weekend, and so will their link-up play whilst in the attacking line.

Both players are on the Steve Prescott Man of Steel leaderboard too. McIntosh has two points, whilst Shaul has seven. 

Previous Meeting

The only other meeting between the two sides so far this season took place at the John Smith’s stadium in March. It saw the black and whites emerge as 28-8 victors in Huddersfield. 

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