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Agar - Sharper than Sharp?
Posted by southstander on June 05 2008 - 07:54:07

Not so Sharp!

Up to a fortnight ago this would have been a cast iron home certainty, but since the appointment of Richard Agar as new FC coach playing Hull is a totally different proposition.

Agars new side had a good start to his reign with a plucky performance against Saints, and then upset the bookies with an against the odds win over the Bulls at Odsal in last weeks Carnegie Challenge Cup Quarter Final.

This ain't going to be easy.

We preview the game here...

Leeds fans will be wearing as big a grin as Bluey with the announcement that Jamie Jones-Buchanan is back in the named nineteen ahead of fridays clash. After a long (9 game) lay-off, and continuous bad news stories coming out of the Leeds camp, it is a relief to see the Rhinos workhorse and resident court jester back in the reckoning. A little something has been missing without JJB in the squad. Eric Anselme is also back in the nineteen after recovering from a knee injury picked up in the French Cup Final.

The full Rhinos nineteen is; Ablett, Anselme, Bailey, Jones Buchanan, Burgess, Burrow, Diskin, Donald, Ellis, Hall, Leuluai, McGuire, Peacock, Scruton, Senior, Sinfield, Smith, Tansey,and Webb. I'd expect Smith and either Tansey or JJB to be the ones not to make the seventeen.

Richard Agars injury worries are picking up where Sharps left off. He's definitely without Shaun Berrigan and Tommy Lee who both picked up injuries in last weekends cup win. Inexperienced youngsters Tom Briscoe and Matt Dale have been drafted in as replacements. The full nineteen is; Byrne, Burnett, Briscoe, Carvell, Dale, Dykes, Dowes, G Horne, Hall, Houghton, Manu, Radford, Raynor, Sing, Thackray, Tickle, Washbrook, Wheeldon, and Yeaman.

Three Airlie Birds to watch;


Sing

Tickle

Yeaman

There has been one match-up between these sides so far this season with the Rhinos turning in a top drawer performance at the KC Stadium and coming home with a 30-04 win. However, Hull FC won by 17-06 on their last visit to Headingley last September and have won two out of the last three played in Leeds. We've also lost two out of the last three encounters between the sides (home and away).

Southstander.com Prediction
Rhinos 22 16 Hull FC

With JJB back in the camp being a positive lift for the boys, and on the back of last weekends qualification for the semi-finals of the cup, I think that this will be one that we just scrape through, although I expect one Hull of a challenge from the visitors.

It's a bit early for our bookies to have the odds up yet, but with their resurgence under Agar I'd expect that the start the visitors will be given will be far from excessive (around 8 to 10 points). I think that it may be even closer than that.

The weather forecast for friday night is showing a reasonable chance of rain which could be a bit of a leveller. Expect a decent travelling support from Hull, who may need their brollies.

Don't forget to get your predictions in here.

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