RugbyL: Warrington's Waterhouse targets Rhinos scalp

Warrington's Trent Waterhouse insists his side are hitting their stride at just the right time as they prepare to face Super League leaders Leeds Rhinos.

The Wolves, runners-up in the Super League Grand Final for the last two years, struggled to find top gear in the first half of this season and were battling simply for a place in the top eight.

But three wins in a row in the league, including a Magic Weekend thumping of St Helens, have lifted Tony Smith's men up to fifth in the table.

The Rhinos will provide a stern test of Warrington's revival as they sit top of the table, with only two defeats all season, before heading to the Halliwell Jones Stadium on Friday.

But 33-year-old former Australian international Waterhouse is confident the Wolves are now in the groove as the season approaches the business end.

"We haven't had the best start to the season but the last few weeks we have been pretty good and hopefully we can get a bit of momentum now and keep moving forward," said Waterhouse.

"There is belief, we have a confident bunch of guys here and we look forward to having a big back end to the season.

"We are delighted. We wanted to show more consistency in our play and we have had some good wins in the last few weeks."

Elsewhere, defending champions Wigan visit last year's League Leaders Shield winners Huddersfield Giants.

The in-form Warriors have won 11 of their last 12 in all competitions and could be boosted by the return of four key players from injury.

Captain Sean O'Loughlin, Liam Farrell, Ben Flower and Eddy Pettybourne, formerly of Wests Tigers, all missed the clash with Salford last time out.

But the quartet are in the frame for Thursday's meeting with the Giants, much to head coach Shaun Wane's delight.

"We'll have a few players filtering back into the team over the next two weeks," Wane said.

"We'll have a better idea later in the week, but we're hoping Lockers, Faz, Eddy and Ben will be OK for Huddersfield."

Their likely return will compensate for the loss of hooker Michael McIlorum, who is unlikely to play after damaging knee ligaments in last Thursday's 25-4 victory at Salford.

The Red Devils travel to St Helens and will be without the services of former Parramatta Eel Jake Mullaney after the 24-year-old underwent surgery on a torn pectoral muscle.

And while the injury looks set to rule him out of nearly the entirety of the rest of this season, head coach Iestyn Harris has backed his man to come back stronger than ever.

"It's a three-to-four month injury, which potentially takes him out for the rest of the season," said Harris.

"What it does is give him a chance to work on aspects of his game and his physicality that he needs to improve on, and come back a better player."



Huddersfield v Wigan


St Helens v Salford, Warrington v Leeds, Widnes v Catalan Dragons


London Broncos v Hull FC


Bradford v Wakefield, Castleford Tigers v Hull KR