Brian McDermott will get little criticism for deciding to keep the powder of Jamie Peacock, Kevin Sinfield, Ian Kirke and Ben Jones-Bishop dry for tomorrow nights Rob Burrow Testimonial game, although I'd like to bet that he didn't have an easy job of breaking the news to four players who would have been desperate to show their playing support to their much loved collegue.
With those three exceptions the miracle working boss has selected a strong side which sees new signings Moore and Griffin on the bench and Lee Smith get the nod on the wing. Rob Burrow and Danny McGuire partner up at halves, something which we missed last season.
The Rhinos eighteen man side is; Webb, Smith, Watkins, Hardaker, Hall, McGuire, Burrow, Leuluai, McShane, Bailey, Jones-Buchanan, Delaney, Ablett, with the subs named as: Hauraki, Hood, Griffin, Moore, and Clarkson. It should be a good run out just a fortnight before we welcome Hull KR to Headingley for the start of our title defence.
Daryl Powell returns to Headingley in charge of a rugby league side for the first time since he stepped down as Rhinos coach in 2003. In the press he's made it clear that his side will be coming to compete and not just make up the numbers and allow the Rhinos to play an exhibition match.
Featherstone will come to Headingley with the normal mix of youth and experience which you find at National League sides. Their squad comprises ex-Superleague players heading towards retirement alongside exciting young players looking to follow in the footsteps of the likes of Burrow and Zak Hardaker and get themselves noticed and being offered a chance in the top flight.
Powell has not yet named his team.
A great career, and more to come;
The Rhinos played Fev at Post Office road in a pre-season friendly last year when our kids got beaten 18-40. Previous to that was an away friendly in January 2008 when Leeds won 42-20 and again in January 2007 when Leeds won 30-10.
The last time that Featherstone visited Headingley for a competitive match was way back in February 2000 when a fourth round Challenge Cup match saw the Rhinos run out as 48-12 winners thanks to a hatr-trick from Ryan Sheridan, two tries from Kevin Sinfield alongside single scores for Barnhill, Harris and a certain Daryl Powell.
Despite Powells' rhetoric this should really be a straightforward win for a quality Rhinos side, despite the absence of the GB and club captains. If Featherstone get within thirty of us then I'd be surprised.
The likelihood is that it os going to rain during the match but hopefully that won't put too many people off. Remember the South STand is closed but I understand you'll have your choice of wherever else in the ground you'd like to sit.
So get yourself along to Headingley tomorrow night and give Superleagues' smallest player, Superleagues' biggest support.