There is no denying that last week was a shock. Many of us went to Headingley knowing that Wigan were fielding a massively weakened side, and hoping that the Rhinos could get the two points. No-one, not even the most fanatical of Warriors supporters, would have been expecting the massacre that Wigan inflicted on us.
But we weren't alone in being on the end of a shock result. Our hosts tonight also lost, admittedly by a much smaller the margin, against Hull KR.
The embattled Big Mac must know that his days are now numbered unless there is a miraculous turnaround. The coach has been robbed of the services of Danny McGuire who is ruled out with an abductor problem. Stevie Ward is back in the squad and joined by Griffin, Jones-Bishop and Ian Kirke as Richard Moore finds himself out of the nineteen.
Big Mac and the Rhinos fans hopes will be carried into battle from seventeen out of the following nineteen; Webb, Jones-Bishop, Hardaker, Hall, Burrow, Leuluai, Peacock, Jones-Buchanan, Ablett, Sinfield, Smith, Delaney, Bailey, Kirke, Clarkson, Hauraki, Griffin, Ward, and Lunt. It's anyones guess as to which two will miss out but I'd expect Smith and Ward.
Despite last weeks defeat the Wolves have only lost one out of their last five, the Rhinos losing three in five, and Warrington are still second in Superleague.
Although fit for action Tony Smith has decided to keep Michael Monaghan on the sidelines for at least another week. Adrian Morley will be looking for a big game to ask the question why he has been left out of the England squad to face the Exiles, and if you do a position-by-position comparison there are few where you'd currently give the Rhinos player the upper hand.
Tony Smith will be smarting from two consecultive losses against his former employers and will want his players to avenge the loss at Headingley earlier in the season. He names his nineteen as; Atkins, Blythe, Bridge, Briers, Carvell, Cooper, Grix, Harrison, Higham, Hill, Hodgson, McCarthy, J Monaghan, Morley, O'Brien, Ratchford, Riley, Waterhouse, and Westwood.
I think we may be in a spot of bother.
Three Wolves to keep an eye on;
The Rhinos go into this game on the back of two successive wins against the Wolves.
Earlier in the season we put in a massive performance at Headingley to win 26-18. In 2011 we suffered two big regular season losses and then turned in what was one of the performances and shocks of the season to get ourselves to Old Trafford with a 26-24 win at the HJ Stadium which brough tears to the eyes of grown men.
That was a night of seventeen heroes, I suspect that tonight will need the same, and a victory would have the same shock factor for the rest of Super League.
I'm getting tired of players 'we must do better' and 'looking forward to the challenge' and 'this will refocus us' messages in the press. We need to do our talking on the pitch and erect the media bubble which served us so well at the end of last season.
The Rhinos have a twelve point start on the coupon which is a little less than I would have expected when you consider the current chasm between the two sides. I can see nothing other than a wallopping as the Wolves bounce back from their defeat of last week, and we plummet further towards oblivion. The extra ignominy is that SKY will be broadcasting it live.
Todays forecast is shocking. It is going to rain all day, and then all night, and the wind will be blowing hard. The conditions may be a leveller, and everyone knows that the Rhinos always play well in bad conditions. Perhaps that is our only hope.
Travel safe and see you there.