With the continued absence of Brent Webb through suspension, Zak Hardaker will continue his impressive run at full-back for the Rhinos. Richard Moore and Ian Kirke are the two players added to the seventeen who just scraped past the Robins last Sunday. With a hectic schedule over the next couple of weeks, the trip to the south of France being followed by Wembley, then it might be that McDermott springs a surprise are rests a couple of his a-listers.
I suspect that this will be the case next weekend, with some of our big names getting the weekend off from travelling, and tonight it will be the same seventeen as last week.
McDermott names his ninteen as; Jones-Bishop, Watkins, Hardaker, Hall, McGuire, Burrow, Leuluai, Peacock, Jones-Buchanan, Ablett, Sinfield, Delaney, Bailey, Kirke, Clarkson, Griffin, Moore, Ward, and Lunt.
Denis Betts is without the on-loan Paul McShane who picked up a suspension last in the loss to the Bulls after using the forearm in a tackle on Brett Kearney. Second rower Macgraff Leuluai is named in the ninteen after returning to Widnes from a months loan at Leigh Centurions.
Betts names his nineteen as; Ah Van, Allen, Cahill, Clarke, Craven, Davies, Dean, Gerrard, Gore, Haggerty, Hanbury, Isa, J Kite, Leuluai, Marsh, Owens, Phelps, Pickersgill, and Winterstein.
Three Robins to keep an eye on;
The Rhinos travelled to Widnes the week after World Club Challenge victory but managed to avoid slipping on a potential banana skin. We ran out as 44-16 winners with braces from Burrow, Hall and Jones-Bishop.
This is the Vikings sixth Superleague season, but their first for seven years. The Rhinos Superleague record against tonights visitors is; player 9, won 6, and lost 3. The biggest Leeds winning margin is 58 points (66-8) from the home game in 2005, a which saw Mark Calderwood score four tries if front of almost seventeen and a half thousand at Headingley.
All logic and commons sense says that this should be a relatively easy win for the Rhinos. There is always the chance that Rhinos players minds will be elsewhere, and anything other than a 100% focus could mean disaster. We need the win, we need the two points, we need the confidence as we build for Wembley.
The bookies can oly see one outcome, they have given Widnes a twenty-six point start on the coupon.
The forecast is for beautiful day with the temperature still in the mid-teens at kick-off and not dropping too much as darkness arrives. It should be a great night for rugby.
Everything crossed for another Rhinos win.
See you there.