Off the back of a very poor performance from Leeds, Huddersfield will be desperate to pick up the two points tonight, and move up to seventh in the table, getting us that much closer to safety. There's just one problem...
Those two points must be won off in East Hull. The last time we played KR, we didn't fare much better than the Rhinos did to Wigan last night. At the time, this site called it our worst Super League performance since a nilling at Leigh a year ago. Sadly, a week later saw more of the same with a trip to Wigan, and Rick Stone left the club. The performance in our next game against Leeds, however, showed some promise.
Flash forward 3-and-a-bit months and it's like a different club. We've won 5 games in a row, and have broken into the top 8. With Catalans facing a tough visit from Castleford, a win tonight will give us some much needed momentum, and open the gap on the bottom four
There's only change to the 19-man squad this week, as Sam Hewitt returns in place of Ferguson. According to Woolford, there's no big concern with Fergie, he just missed a few training sessions and while he probably could play, there's no reason to risk him. Roberts missed the Catalans game to illness, rather than issues with form or injury, so I'd expect him to take Fergie's spot on the bench, in an otherwise unchanged side. The other man to miss out last week - Sam Wood - was named in the 19-man squad, but following a new dual-registration partnership with Workington Town, he's been confirmed to feature in their game this weekend.
Our key man will be Jordan Turner. His halfback partner Olly Russell has been impressive, but is still young and is about to play his third straight Super League game. Jordan will need to take the lead and utilise his great running and passing game and get the ball out wide, to see us get a good high score and work on that poor points difference.
Rovers welcome back three players into their squad with former Giant Tommy Lee, and the stars of the reverse fixture in Danny McGuire and Robbie Mulhern. While their league position leaves something to be desired, it would be a mistake to underestimate KR, especially given that we've already done so once this year. Speaking to the supporters association, Simon Woolford discussed his disappointment with how we handled kicks in the first half of the Catalans game, and said it's something we've really worked on in training since. That's reassuring, as McGuire and Atkin (who will likely play in the halves) both have strong kicking games, and will look to exploit weaknesses in our defence.
Plus, we can talk about the Giants wanting payback for the reverse fixture, but let's not forget the last time we visited Craven Park in 2016, when a Danny Brough drop goal condemned Rovers to the Million Pound Game and, ultimately, relegation. That's not something they'll have forgotten, and they'll be keen to make it 2/2 this year.
KR's key man will be the veteran halfback opposite Turner, Danny McGuire. It seems Rovers have lacked game management in the past few weeks, and McGuire knows how to take control and win games. There may be questions over his fitness, as we're still not 100% he'll play, but if he does appear, Huddersfield will need to contain him to have any hope of managing the game
Where will the game be won?
Coming to the end of a structure everyone is desperate to scrap because of all the pointless games, here we are awaiting 8th vs 11th with bated breath. Both teams will be desperate for a win. Any slim chance Rovers have of making the top 8 will be all but wiped out with a loss tonight. And even if, realistically, they don't see a way to eighth, they'll still be fighting for 9th or 10th, as that extra home fixture could prevent a visit to Toronto and/or Toulouse. The Giants know the value of a win too, two points will not only see us move up to seventh but - barring a surprise win by Wakefield at Langtree Park - also leave us one win from sixth. Rovers turned things around and got a crucial point against Cas in their last fixture, so the worst thing we as a side can do is underestimate them.
We've picked a halfback as the key man for each side, and that's where the game will be won. In weather like this, you want a half who's comfortable passing out wide, to give our centres and wingers a shot at the line, and we have that in Jordan Turner. Defensively, we'll need to deal with kicks a lot better than we did against Catalans. But if we can handle them, complete our sets and go easy on the penalties, we should have what it takes to make it 6 in a row, and move up to seventh
Then again, I said that in March...