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Super League XXVIII week three preview: Saints look to build on strong start

Week three of the 2023 Super League season commences on Thursday, while a repeat of the 2022 Grand Final is in the offing a day later as St Helens play host to Leeds Rhinos.

After sensationally winning the World Club Challenge a fortnight ago Down Under against the Penrith Panthers, Saints returned to domestic action last weekend and sealed a comfortable 24-6 win away at Castleford Tigers.

The Merseyside club are looking to make it five league titles in a row which, would be unprecedented in the Super League era, and they are also trying to chase down Wigan's record of seven in a row which was achieved in the mid-1990s.

Now, they face a Leeds side who have had a poor start to the season under Rohan Smith, losing two matches in a row despite being tipped for another good season.

Table-toppers Warrington Wolves kick the action off on Thursday evening with a home match against Salford Red Devils, while Friday is jam-packed with five fixtures in total.

Saints and Rhinos face off in clash of the titans

WhatSt Helens v Leeds Rhinos
WhereTotally Wicked Stadium
When20:00, Friday 3rd March
How to watchSky Sports Arena
OddsSt Helens 1/10, Leeds 6/1

These two clubs have had some epic battles in Super League over the years, but for now Leeds will be hoping for an attritional game as long as it ends in a positive result.

It has been a frustrating season so far for Rohan Smith's men with a heavy 42-10 loss at Warrington Wolves ensuring their campaign got off to the worst possible start.

Last weekend, in a battle between uncle and nephew, it was uncle who came out on top as Tony's Hull FC snuck a 22-18 win past Leeds.

Only Wakefield Trinity have been more porous defensively and things do not get any easier as they face a Saints side who stunned Penrith Panthers in the World Club Challenge a few weeks ago.

Paul Wellens may be new to coaching but he has inherited a group of players who have winning in their DNA and now they will look to lay down another early-season marker against Leeds.

They have a fabulous record against the Rhinos, winning all of their last 12 meetings and are well on track to make that 13. Saints can be backed to win by over 13 points at 4/7.

Wolves look to stay at summit

WhatWarrington Wolves v Salford Red Devils
WhereHalliwell Jones Stadium
When20:00, Thursday 2nd March
How to watchSky Sports Arena
OddsWarrington 1/6, Salford 4/1

Last season Warrington were undoubtedly the big underachievers in Super League, failing to make the play offs despite much pre-season anticipation due to the appointment of Daryl Powell as head coach.

Some Wire fans were calling for Powell to be dismissed, but the board decided to stick with the former Castleford Tigers man and it looks like a decision that is paying off - they can be backed in the Grand Final Winner market at 11/2.

A 42-10 thumping of Leeds Rhinos got their season off to a perfect start and last weekend they followed that up with a 26-16 win at Huddersfield Giants, who reached last season's Challenge Cup final.

Salford have won one and lost one so far this season and their aim this season is to reach the play off stage again after finishing sixth last term.

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Trinity search for early-season inspiration

WhatWakefield Trinity v Huddersfield Giants 
WhereBelle Vue
When19:45, Friday 3rd March
OddsWakefield 12/5, Huddersfield 1/3

Wakefield Trinity have not enjoyed a good start to the season and already look like they need a victory from somewhere as Huddersfield Giants prepare to head to their West Yorkshire rivals.

With promoted Leigh Leopards spending reasonably big in order to try and compete against the drop, Trinity may struggle to retain their Super League place this season and they can be backed at 8/13 To Finish Bottom.

They have already shipped 98 points, which is by far a league high, and the loss of Tom Johnstone to Catalans during the summer has significantly weakened their attack - he grabbed a hat trick against his old club on his Dragons debut.

Already the game against the Giants looks highly significant, though Huddersfield themselves are hoping for a first win of the season following their loss to Warrington last weekend.

Ian Watson's side were not in action on the opening weekend due to St Helens' match in Australia.

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