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Pride before a Fall?
Posted by southstander on June 27 2008 - 08:12:50

Big Day Out!

Where do you start with this one?

A heavily depleted Rhinos welcome our country cousins for their big day out in the big smoke as Castleford descend on Headingley for their cup final.

With the majority of the Rhinos stars on duty for England tonight, and not named in the Leeds nineteen, you'd expect the visitors to be favourites. But the bookies still have the Rhinos odds-on to win the game.

We preview the game here...

It's top against bottom, but of the two sides it is Castleford who are the form team with one point out of the last four. You have to go back to August 2006 to find the last time that the Rhinos lost three on the bounce, a run which was actually five consecutive games (Castleford, Saints, Giants (Cup Semi-final), Hull FC and Wigan). Castleford have the upper hand this season with that startling 38-20 win at Wheldon Road earlier in the season.

Saturday nights side is one which has never played together in the Superleague, and to be honest is never likely to again. With Sinfield, Burrow, Peacock, Ellis, McGuire and Senior in the south of France, Scruton suspended and Gibson, Toopi and Kirke still injured it is a side where youth rules.

Bluey has named a nineteen of; Webb, Donald, Smith, Leuluai, Diskin, Jones-Buchanan, Lauitiiti, Bailey, Tansey, Hall, Williams, Burgess, Allan, Kaye, Worrall, Haley, Watkins, Chandler, and Jones-Bishop. It is likley that Chandler and Jones-Bishop will be the ones to miss out, but there is no scope for Sinfield to back-up and therefore his consecutive Leeds scoring record ends due to International call-up (better than because he doesn't score in a game!).

Terry Matterson must really fancy his chances, especially after the big win back in march and the confidence that will have been gained from last weeks draw against Wigan Warriors. With the game on a saturday evening expect a big following from down the road, excitable and optimistic, perhaps not daring to dream about the elusive double.

Leeds international call-ups isn't a problem effecting the visitors. The only Tigers member of the England squad is Joe Westerman, who won't get a game so backs-up for his club side on saturday night. The named nineteen is; Dorn, Donlan, Shenton, Wainwright, Thackeray, Sherwin, Henderson, Korkidas, Westerman, Higgins, Huby, Lupton, Boyle, Owen, McGoldrick, Hlad, Catic and Fletcher, with more familiar names to the general rugby league watching public than the Leeds squad.

Three Tigers to watch;


Westerman

Korky

McGoldrick

The Tigers have won the last two meetings between the sides, although these were two years apart. The Tigers always raise their game when they take on the Rhinos, it's almost as though they don't really care about the rest of the season as long as they get one over on the rich club from up the road.

It is, however, five years since the Tigers won at Headingley, a 32-24 win in July 2003. Of the twenty-six meetings in the Superleague era the Rhinos have won sixteen, two have been drawn and the Tigers have emerged with the points from eight encounters.

Southstander.com Prediction
Rhinos 26 18 Tigers

I really don't have a good feeling about this. I'm full of pride that we are so well represented in the England side but I'd have liked to have seen up postpone this game, or at least delay it to allow some of our key players to recover enough to play a part. A loss on saturday could see the Saints draw level on points and with two visits to the JJB and a trip to play the red-hot Catalan Dragons you have to be fearful for our chances of the minor premiership.

I'm tipping a Rhinos win but I think I am probably being over-optimistic.

The bookies have given the visitors a twelve point start and I'd be putting my money on the visitors with that handicap in their favour.

The forecast for tomorrow is for it to be overcast but at least it will be dry after yesterdays near biblical downpour.

Don't forget to put your predictions up in the SouthStander.com predictions competition.

Enjoy the game, and keep everything crossed that the youngsters can pull us through.

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