In the one meeting so far this year, the season opener at the KC Stadium, the Rhinos struggled to a 16-12 win on an evening of gales and torrential rain. Richie Mathers was sensational that night, and his defensive efforts contributed more to the win that the tries of Bai, Senior and Walker.
John Kear has a few injury problems to worry about, with Whiting, Chester and McNicholas all missing out. He will give second senior appearances to Washbrook and Dixon, although they will start the game on the bench.
That said, Kear can call on vast experience and skill as he tries to lift his troops after last weeks heavy defeat at home to Bradford. Blacklock, King, Cooke and the Horne brothers have all got the class to put real pressure on the champions and make this 'one Hull of a game'.
Three Airlie Birds to watch;
You have to go back to April 2001 to find the last Hull FC win at Headingley, a night when the visitors sneaked it by 18-16. They did, however, manage a 10-10 draw at Headingley in May 2003. In seventeen Superleague meetings between the two side, Hull have managed just four wins and one draw, with the Rhinos being victorious on the other twelve occasions. The Rhinos biggest win was a 52-10 rout at Headingley in 2002, with Hulls target a more manageable 35-18 win at Headingley in 1985-86.
The forecast is for sunshine and showers all day, but it looks like it might be getting wetter as the day wears on. It might not be such a pleasant evening for those packed into the western and eastern terraces. With just 2,000 tickets remaining yesterday for an all-ticket clash, the ground could well be heading towards capacity again, and it shoudl be an electric atmosphere.
The bookies have given Hull a sixteen point start, which for me is a little bit too much. The Rhinos will be looking to bounce back after last weeks disappointment, but so will Hull.
I hope, and suspect, that home advantage will be enough for the Rhinos to get the two points, but they will need the vociferous South Stand behind them driving them forward.
It should be a belter!