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The One We've Been Waiting For
Posted by southstander on July 25 2008 - 16:39:09

The Prize

Since the tie to prove that the draws are not rigged was made, and the Rhinos were drawn against the Saints, all thoughts have been of this 'should've been' final. A few Sueprleague games, including the 'dress rehersal' a month ago have done little to dampen the appeal of this cup tie of the season.

Tomorrow will see dream become reality for one team and one set of supporters, everything crossed that it is the Blue & Amber that will be waving at the end of eighty.

We preview the game here...

After last weekends brilliant win over the Catalan Dragons in the four pointer in Perpignan, the lads will be full of confidence and almost back to full fitness. That game will have undoubtedly taken a great deal out of them and JJB misses out with a hamstring tweak, but Brent Webb is likely to be declared fit when the final seventeen is named an hour before kick-off.

Into last weeks seventeen come Burgess and Worrall with the only likely change to be Webb for he injured Jones-Buchanan. For me, and whilst he's still a great Rhinos prospect, Burgess has just dropped a little too much ball in recent weeks to merit inclusion in such a crucial game, but if he does so then it is likely to be Kirke or Ablett who make way.

Daniel Anderson will be looking to finish off his time in charge at the Saints with a domestic hat-trick of trophies and while Leeds are desperate for a Wembley apperance, Saints will also be determined and up for the game. The Red Vee's are likely to be without 'biscuit' Sculthorpe who is once again injured, but named in the nineteen, and have named several youngsters in their nineteen.

The Cup holders side will be selected from; Wellens, Gardner, Gidley, Talau, Meli, Pryce, Long, Cunningham, Cayless, Gilmour, Wilkin, Sculthorpe, Roby, Flannery, Graham, Hargreaves, Clough, Fa’asavalu,and Eastmond. The weak links in that lot aren't so easy to spot. Three Saints to watch;


'Mercenary'
Leon

'You Bet'
Sean

Roger
Meli

The honours have been shared so far this season with victorys going to the away sides on the two meetings so far. We ran out as 14-10 winners in a March mudbath at Knowsley Road. But back in June we were demolished by 26-12 as Steve Ganson refereed his home town side to victory for the first time.

Leeds have won four out of the last six with the Rhinos having won three of the four meetings between the sides last season. In the league the Rhinos won 38-19 at Headingley Carnegie in April before completing the double with a 22-10 win a Knowsley Road in July. The teams then met twice in the play-offs, Saints registering their only win with a 10-08 victory before the Rhinos turned the tables two weeks later at Old Trafford. On paper it is difficult to pick between the sides, perhaps the Scousers having the slight edge over the Rhinos. But it will all come down to who gets on top first, and whether they can turn an advantage into a roll. If they do it could be a one-sided affair in either direction, if they don't it could be an all time classic.

I'm going to follow my guts from last week and go with a Leeds loss, in the hope that it will work a similar miracle.

Southstander.com Prediction
Rhinos 14 24 Saints

Saints are coming into the back of this game with a long winning run and hopefully a bit of complacency. Leeds seem to have negotiated a mid-season wobble and last week looked as though they had re-discovered their will to win. In a way I am surprised that this game hasn't been called off scratch, any neutral would probably find it impossible to call.

The bookies have given Leeds a four point start on the coupon, which might not be enough.

We've got high temperatures with the change of thunder storms. It could be a cracker in the skies as well as on the field.

From talking to the lads I know that they are really up for this and that all they have really been thinking about it running out onto the turf at Wembley. They want this, with a passion, and will give everything that they have got to ensure that it is us making the trip to London in August. If we don't win this then that could well be season over as I am not sure they'll get back up for the rest of the league programme.

See you tomorrow, and give it everything that you have.

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