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Potter and The Impossible Mission
Posted by southstander on August 23 2007 - 09:53:16

Party or Funeral?

As the whole rugby league world descends on the magnificent new Wembley Stadium for this seasons prestigious Carnegie Challenge Cup Final, only those from within a five mile radius of Knowsley Road will be hoping for the favourites to triumph.

Catalans Dragons, the first French side to ever reach the competitions final, are the biggest outsiders since Sheffield Eagles in 1998. The countries will is behind them, but could that be enough to propel them to an 'against all odds' win.

We've asked the 'great and the good' for their opinions.

Read more here....

High Peak Rhino - August Predictions Winner

Being away during semi final weekend I got in the car about 3:30 on the Sunday afternoon I nearly crashed the car hearing a score of 22-0 to the Dragons. I would have picked Wigan to win the game 9 times out of 10, especially with such a great history in the challenge cup.

Saturday could be just the same as the semi final. On their day the Dragons have the beating of any team - it doesn't seem long ago since Perpignan in February and of course they turned Saints over 2 weeks ago. However Saints have the big match experience, have the better team and will not underestimate the Dragons this time. If the Dragons stop Saints scoring early on then it will be close, if not Saints will win comfortably. I hope I'm wrong.

Prediction: Saints 34 - Dragons 16

John D - Predictions Organiser and Catalans Supporter

If Whitehaven had played to their potential back in May, I wouldn't be putting finger to keyboard right now. Instead, I'd be looking forward to a weekend 'off' rugby and a much cheaper one at that. If the last 17 fit players at the club had done what everyone expected and rolled over in the quarter-final against Hull, I would be doing likewise. If the Dragons had read the script about Wigan returning to the scene of their numerous glories and in doing so set up a derby of a final at the new Wembley, you wouldn't be reading this now. But you are, so something must have gone right.

It's been another up-and-down season for the Dragons. That a home defeat by Hull KR can be followed by that blistering semi-final performance or a disappointing defeat at Huddersfield can be backed up by nilling St Helens typifies the year to date. Nobody really expects the French to upset the overwhelming and almost unbackable favourites, but it's been proven that the performances are in there somewhere. It'll take something special, but it can be done. The fitness, or otherwise, of Casey McGuire will go a long way to determining the outcome.

I'm not normally one for predictions. The head says St Helens by plenty. I hope I'm wrong.

Prediction: Saints 40 - Dragons 20

Oldham Rhino - Co-editor & Rhinos Match Commentator

The Dragons go into Saturday's game as big an underdog as Sheffield Eagles did in 1998. But this in Wembley, the home of shocks, as Sheffield proved in 1998 and Featherstone Rovers back in 1983. Thing is, I can't see this shock happening this time. Although the Dragons were comfortable 21-0 winners at the Stade Gilbert Brutus only a fortnight ago the RFL and TV Broadcast partners have ensured they have a little time as possible to prepare for the big day by forcing them to play on Sunday night in Warrington.

Fair play to the Dragons a fortnight ago, they bashed a St Helens side missing a few key players with some ferocious defence. Those key players will be back for St Helens on Saturday and I feel it will tip the balance in their favour.

I can't see this game being any different from the one at Twickenham last year which saw the Saints run home comfortable winners over Huddersfield and I predict a similar scoreline this year in favour of the Saints.

Prediction: Saints 42 - Dragons 12

Eccleshill Rhino - Player Reviewer & message board agitator

All the odds are stacked in St Helens favour: They have the best side on paper - the result two weeks ago should be discounted as a form guide - 16 points seperates these two sides in ESL table as well as a massive 444 points difference. That said Saints don't appear to be quite the force they once were. Key players such as Cunningham and Long don't exert quite the influence they once did. However Roby and Wilkin are likely to compensate for their aged team mates. How long will the Catalans be able to hold back the dominant Saints pack?

On the Catalans side Casey McGuire will be a big miss if he doesn't play - it was he that really turned the game against Wigan. If he does play the question will remain will he be another Keith Senior?

No side that contains aggressive forwards and a half back of Stacey Jones' quality should be under estimated it is not inconceivable that the French side could spring a surprise. With Saints being at full strength the game will be decided by the quality and diversity of the respective benches - Saints have a varied bench of real impact players whilst the French are very likely to field 4 forwards on the bench to counter Saints percieved forward prowess.

The Catalans reaching the final reminds me of when London reached the final against Leeds - lets hope the Chairman of Catalans gives the final more gravitas than his counterpart from London did that day and the impact on Rugby in France is greater than the ripples created in London from their visit to Wembley that day.

In conclusion it is difficult to see beyond Saints big game experience and superior side with greater depth. Whilst I am not expecting a Sheffield I do expect Catalans to put up a better performance than the disappointing affair at Twickenham last year.

Prediction: Saints 32 - Dragons 24

Like most supporters I have a soft spot for the Dragons, fuelled by good times in Perpignan (despite results), and a will for the game to become a truly european spectacle. While I will be on the edge of my seat, and willing Potters men to spring the greatest upset in cup history, my head says that this will be a massacre to the defending champions.

Anderson has rested players to ensure that he has his best possible seventeen available for saturday afternoon while the Dragons have been forced to roam across europe in recent days and face a massive battle at Warrington last weekend.

I think that the Catalans moment of glory this season was that sensational semi-final win against the 'Cheats' and that this will be a game too far. I hope, with every fibre of my body, that I'm wrong. 'Allez les Dragons'.

Prediction: Saints 44 - Dragons 14

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