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Monday Night Treat
Posted by southstander on May 21 2012 - 08:48:32

Back
The Rhinos and the Saints find themselves as the latest SKY/Superleague guinea pigs as they meet for the first of this summers monday night clashes.

Headingley is the stage for a game which Leeds fans will be hoping more resembles a Grand Final replay, rather than the awful performance which saw us humiliated at Langtree Park earlier in the season.

The bookies are giving the visitors a six point start on the coupon, are they mad?

We preview the game, read more here...

After being named in the ninteen last week, but not making the playing side, it looks like Kallum Watkins will make a welcome return for his first outing since Good Friday. Watkins replaces Ben Jones-Bishop in the squad as Big Mac has finally an embarrassment of riches to select his side from. Webb has announced that this will be his last season at Headingley and the hunt for his replacement will have already begun, with the most likely outcome being that the new full-back will come from within the existing player pool.

There are a few changes from the side who lost so heavily in March. Webb, McGuire, Jones-Buchanan and Lunt all strengthen the Rhinos offering.

The Leeds ninteen is; Webb, Watkins, Hardaker, Hall, McGuire, Burrow, Leuluai, Peacock, Jones-Buchanan, Ablett, Sinfield, Smith, Delaney, Bailey, Clarkson, Hauraki, Griffin, Moore, and Lunt. It's impossible to say which two will miss out from this strong ninteen.

Saints come into the game after a crushing defeat to their old enemy in the Challenge Cup and stand-in coach Mike Rush is likely to make just one change from last weeks side as Puletua comes back after recovering from an injury suffered at Easter.

The Saints nineteen isn't the star-studded cast list that we are used to, but after a diabolical start to the season it seems that Rush has formed them into a side who are keen to play for each other.

His ninteen is; Wellens, Shenton, Soliola, Meli, Hohaia, Lomax, Perry, Roby, McCarthy-Scarsbrook, Puletua, Wilkin, Flannery, Laffranchi, Flanagan, Clough, Wheeler, Magennis, Makinson, and J Jones.

Three Saints to watch;


Laffranchi

Meli

Wellens

Saints are currently two places, but just one point, above us and a win tonight would lift us from eighth to sixth as we spend six weeks focussing on Super League without the distractions of the Challenge Cup.

The Rhinos have the measure of Saints when it counts, early October at Old Trafford. During the regular season we have fared less well and the forty point thrashing which we experienced earlier in the season was the biggest loss that we'd suffered since Superleague IX in 2004 when we turned a 10-56 loss at Knowsley Road in April into a 70-0 victory at Headingley in July as we went all the way to Old Trafford and lifted the Grand Final trophy for the first time.

Last season we played Saints three times. We lost twice in the league, by 16-30 at Headingley and 16-42 in the return. The only one that counted was the third meeting when Leeds triumphed by 32-16 at Old Trafford.

Southstander.com Prediction
Rhinos 22 18 Saints

The bookies have the Rhinos by six and for once I think I'm going to back the Rhinos against the Saints, but by slightly less than the handicap. It should be a great game and SKY will be hoping that a nation bereft of it's beloved football for a few weeks will watch in numbers and justify their decision to inconvenience large number of supporters with summer long disruption to their regular weekends.

The forecast is for it to stay dry for the day with reasonable temperatures dropping down to single figures as kick-off approaches. There should be no excuses for anything other than a fast and flowing game.

Travel safe and enjoy the game, and cheer the lads on to two very much needed points.

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