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Can Leeds Slay the Dragons
Posted by southstander on April 19 2012 - 06:51:01

New signing
The Rhinos are likely to give a debut to loan signing Shaun Lunt, the Huddersfield utility player brought in to offer cover for the half-back, scrum-half, hooker role. This must raise massive doubts over the fitness of Rob Burrow, who is rumoured to have sustained a fractured cheek bone in the early stages of last weeks cup win.

Burrow is amazingly named in the Rhinos ninteen to take on the high flying Catalans Dragons in one of the games of the round on friday evening.

Will it be a patched-up the Rhinos who will end the Dragons four game winning run?

We preview the game, read more here...

There are mixed messages coming out of Headingley, and they are causing confusion amongst the fans. It has been suggested that the injury which forced Rob Burrow off the field after just three minutes last friday was a double fracture to his cheekbone, however, Brian McDermott has named him in the nineteen to take on the Dragons. We've also signed utility player Shaun Lunt from the Giants, a side that he has been unable to break into this season, while at the same time loaning out emerging star Liam Hood (although Hood is also named in the Rhinos nineteen).

Following a man-of-the-match performance against the Giants, Richard Moore have recovered from an ankle injury to make the squad, but Paul McShane isn't named and must be wondering what he needs to do to get a run in the side.

The squad that Big Mac will be relying on is; Webb, Jones-Bishop, Hardaker, Hall, McGuire, Burrow, Leuluai, Peacock, Ablett, Sinfield, L. Smith, Delaney, Bailey, Kirke, Clarkson, Griffin, Moore, Hood, and Lunt. It's impossible to guess which two will miss out but I'd be shocked if Burrow figures in any way.

The Dragons have won four on the bounce, including a massive win over the great pretenders, Warrington Wolves, in the last Superleague round. A big win for the Dragons would see them move above the Giants to the top of the pile, which could also condemn the Rhinos to ending the round sitting in a precarious eighth.

There is no surrise that the Dragons are real challengers in 2012 with a side full of settled stars who have gelled to make the Stade Gilbert Brutus a fortress and who are winning the important games on the road.

Coach Trent Robinson names his side as; Pryce, Sa, Stacul, Bosc, Dureau, Ferriol, Henderson, Casty, Menzies, Anderson, Raguin, Millard, Simon, Fakir, Paea, Baitieri, Duport, Fisher, and Cardace.

Three Dragons to keep an eye on;


Pryce

Fakir

Menzies

It was honours even last season as the Rhinos won the Headingley fixture by 30-6 while losing in Perpignan by 18-38.

The Dragons are one of those sides who you are never confident of beating, they seem to have the measure of the Rhinos and have taken the points off us a few times over recent seasons. They are a very strong prospect this year and I fear the worst for Round 12, having tipped a home loss as our injury list continues to lengthen.

Southstander.com Prediction
Rhinos 12 24 Dragons

The bookies have surprisingly given the visitors a six point start on the handicap coupon, which I think is incredibly generous based on recent form. I've called a twelve point loss and if I had a few quid I think I'd be betting against my team with that margin.

The forecast suggests a very high chance of rain and some winter temperatures, which might well play into our hands against a side of Aussies and sun lovers.

I just have a bad feeling about this one but have everything crossed that the lads will prove me wrong.

Enjoy the game.

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