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Sudden Death Smasher
Posted by southstander on September 23 2011 - 08:35:07

Joy or Sadness
Driving to work, within an hour of the start of the most important day in the Rhinos 2011 season, I'd already saluted three lone magpies.

The Rhinos, hopefully backed by hordes of vociferous fans, will descend on the Galpharm for tonights Grand Final Eliminator against the Huddersfield Giants.

To a man they will be hoping for a repeat of the result a fortnight ago - a resounding Leeds win.

We preview the game, read more here...

Ablett and Watkins are still not available for selection, the bang on the head which kept the former out of last weeks win over Hull FC must have been a pretty bad one if he is still concussed. Kyle Amor, back in the Leeds fold after an impressive seasons loan at Wakefield, get a call straight into the nieteen map squad. It would be no surprise if he makes the seventeen.

Last weeks centre partnership of Delaney and Hardaker is likely to be maintained and I'd expect McGuire to start with Burrow on the bench. Ryan Bailey is available for selection, and likely to be picked, after winning his appeal against the one match ban handed out by the RFL on tuesday. The continued absence of Lee Smith, tonight missing in any capacity, must signal the end of his Leeds career.

McDermotts ninteen is: Webb, Delaney, Hall, McGuire, Burrow, Leuluai, Buderus, Peacock, Jones-Buchanan, Sinfield, Lauiti'iti, Bailey, Kirke, Hauraki, Clarkson, Pitts, Jones-Bishop, Amor, and Hardaker.

Coach Brown welcomes back three players missing for the clash a fortnight ago. Cudjoe, Wardle and Ferguson are all available after injury and will give Brown more choices, or should that be selection headaches?

Last weeks drubbing at the hands of the Wolves, on the back of the previous weeks loss to the Rhinos, could signal changes for the Giants side as they look to halt a two game losing streak, or start packing their cases for their holidays.

Brown names a ninteen of: Grix, Lawrence, Cudjoe, Gilmour, Brown, Brough, Crabtree, Robinson, Griffin, Fa'alogo, Faiumu, Mason, Patrick, Horne, McGillvary, Fairbank, Wardle, Sarsfield, and Ferguson.

Three Giants to keep an eye on;




Phil Bentham has been given the nod to referee this one and hopefully he'll stamp down on the Giants 'jolding down' tactics as strongly as Steve 'Saint' Ganson did last week at the Halliwell-Jones. We want a good, open, flowing game of rugby.

The Rhinos trailed at half time a fortnight ago after letting the home side back into a game which they'd controlled for the opening twenty. In the end we stepped up a gear and finally won by a more comfortable than the scoreline suggests, 31-24.

The Giants do know how to beat Leeds and they left Headingley with a very impressive 6-38 win earlier in the season. We can't, and McDermott wont have, underestimate the potential that the Giants have. If they can get their heads and hearts over the massive drubbing that they got last week then they will fancy their chances of getting through to a play-off semi-final.

The Giants have been given a six point start by the handicappers, more a reflection of the outcome a fortnight ago than the result last week. Leeds have definitely finished the regular season the stronger of the two and I think that this allowance is a fair one. Prediction
Giants 18 20 Rhinos

This is going to be a battle of the packs, ground out down the middle, and with only the occasional use of the backs. If we can give the ball a bit of air, and the referee allows us quick play-the-balls, then I think we could take full advantage. I hope that the game isn't as close as I am predicting as I am sure that wouldn't do the old ticker much good.

There is very little chance of rain but temperatures will drop to high single figures.

There should be plenty there from Leeds and hopefully we'll create the atmosphere of a home game and cheer our lads to victory. If you are going, have a safe trip. If you aren't, what's your excuse?

May the best side win, as long as it's Leeds!

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