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More Hope than Expectation
Posted by southstander on March 04 2011 - 08:50:20

It must have been all doom and gloom in the Rhinos camp over the weekend after the Harlequins outplayed us on friday night. The misery will have been compounded with the news that Kylie Leuluai has been added to the medium term injury list and is unlikely to pull on a jersey for six weeks.

That said, there should be little needed to motivate the lads ahead of saturdays clash with the Warrington Wolves after they caused heartbreak when the sides last met just over six months ago at Wembley. If any of Big Macs seventeen are in any doubt, print this out and give it to them to read as they make their way over the M62 tomorrow afternoon.

Read more here...

Brian McDermott will be bolstered by having Webb, Ablett and Bailey all back in the reckoning to take on the side who laid their Saints ghost to rest at Widnes last week. Leuluai will be a big loss as he has been the lynchpin of the Rhinos pack over the opening weeks in the continued absence of Jamie Peacock.

I think that the fans appreciate what McDermott is trying to do in continuing Blueys quest to make the Rhinos the new entertainers, however, we need to get the basics right before we can do the flamboyant stuff. Last week we had too many ideas, most of them badly executed, and if we do the same at the Halliwell-Jones we'll get murdered.

The ninteen has been named as; Webb, Smith, Senior, Hall, Burrow, Buderus, Jones-Buchanan, Ablett, Sinfield, Lauiti'iti, Cross, Bailey, Kirke, Burgess, Watkins, Hauraki, Clarkson, Jones-Bishop, and McShane. I'd expect one of Webb, Ablett or Bailey to not actually make the seventeen along with either Jones-Bishop, Watkins or McShane. But you never know.

Tony Smith got his charges so hyped for last weekends game against Saints that they exploded into the first forty and established a commanding lead before imploding in the second half and allowing the home side to gain some respectability. Hopefully the mental preparation and adrenalin rush that they had a week ago will have drained them to such a level that they have forgotten that it is the visit of the Rhinos this week.

There is no doubting that the Wolves are a team full of stars with the potential to push for every trophy and they should not just be saddled with the 'cup specialists' tag. Smith is now aided by Willie Poching, two men for whom Rhinos fans have a great deal of affection.

We get our first look at Joel Monaghan since his disgraced arrival from Australia and I am sure that the SouthStand faithful will have prepared something special to greet him. The nineteen for the Wolves are; Atkins, Blythe, Briers, Carvell, Clarke, Evans, Grix, Harrison, Higham, Hodgson, Mitchell, J. Monaghan, M. Monaghan, Morley, Myler, Riley, Solomona, Westwood, and Wood. A side with few weak points.

Three Wolves to watch;


Higham

Mozza

Dog Lover

If you can ignore the embarrassment and humiliation of Wembley last august then you have to go back three seasons to Superleagu XIII to find the last Wolves victory over the Rhinos. On that occasion the home side won by 22-12 despite Leeds having a narrow half-time advantage. The Wolves also won their home games in Superleague XII and XI but the Rhinos have a good recent record with 25 wins to just 8 defeats and a single draw in the Superleague era.

Despite that great record I think that history will teach us nothing and unless the lads can get back to basics they it is a tough ask. For the first time this season I am predicting a Rhinos loss, but have everything crossed that the lads prove me wrong.

Southstander.com Prediction
Wolves 24 16 Rhinos

It is a reasonable forcast for tomorrow, dry but chilly so get wrapped up warm.

I really don't have a great feeling about this one and after last weeks crash I am now wondering whether the lads 'flattered to deceive' in the opening fortnight of the campaign. After all we only narrowly beat a Bulls side who are obviously struggling and a Hull FC side who are currently winless.

Most bookies are offering us witha six point start on the coupon, I don't think that will be too far off the mark come the final hooter.

Travel safe and watch out for those average speed cameras on the M62.

See you there, enjoy the game, and pray that my bad feelings are misplaced.

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