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Securing Second
Posted by southstander on August 15 2008 - 08:09:59

That way!

It's just six weeks since Castleford last visited Headingley. On that memorable saturday night a massively depleted Rhinos side, missing a whole host of England stars, took the field under the captaincy of Matt Diskin. All expectation amongst both Rhinos and Cas fans was that this could be the Tigers double, but the Leeds youngsters dug deep and earned a hard fought win.

On that night the dejected Castleford players looked like they'd lost their cup final, and tonight they will be looking for redress.

We preview the game here...

This time there is no match in Toulouse to distract the players, and although we've now lost Scott Donald with a rib cartilage injury, we welcome back Ali from suspension, and Ashley Gibson after a five month absence. Ben Jones-Bishop, who has impressed since his mid-season debut, is also in the nineteen which looks like; Webb, Senior, Smith, McGuire, Burrow, Leuluai, Diskin, Peacock, Ellis, Sinfield, Lauitiiti, Scruton, Kirke, Ablett, Gibson, Tansey, Burgess, Worrall, and Jones-Bishop.

Tigers boss Terry Matterson has retained the seventeen players who won convincingly at Wakefield last weekend in a side who have left themselves an outside chance of still avoiding the ignimony of finishing bottom of the 2008 pile. He's added Michael Korkidas and Mark Leafa to his squad which reads; Dorn, Donlan, Shenton, Dixon, Wainwright, Sherwin, Leafa, Henderson, Korkidas, Guttenbeil, Westerman, Higgins, Huby, Lupton, Moore, Owen, McGoldrick, Catic and Sargent.

Three Tigers to watch;


Westerman

Korky

McGoldrick

The Rhinos go into this game with the sole aim of securing second spot, and then hoping that Saints will let the title slip from their grasp. With three games left, Leeds are four league points and 271 points difference ahead of third placed Catalan Dragons. A win tonight will ensure that unless we take two almighty beatings at Wigan and Wakefield, we are uncatchable in second. This, of course, would rule out any chance of a tricky play-off trip to the south of France.

So far this season it is honours even between the two sides with a 20-38 loss in the first meeting at Wheldon Road and then that battling 18-12 win at Headingley back at the end of June.

Since the start of the Superleague era the two sides have met on twenty-seven occasions with Leeds winning seventeen, Castelford eight and two games ending up all squares. The last time that Cas took the spoils at Headingley was over five years ago with a 32-24 win in July 2003.

Southstander.com Prediction
Rhinos 44 12 Tigers

Leeds, although a little shakily, got back on the bike last week against the Bulls. Now it is time to take off the stabilisers and kick on towards the play-offs and the all important match at Old Trafford. I'm expecting, or perhaps more hoping for, a big Leeds win tonight and sending our country cousins back down the road filled with disappointment for the second time this season.

The Tigers have won two out of their last three, and quite convincingly, so they are not to be underestimated. Having said that, their one loss was a big defeat to the Giants, so get ona roll and we could rack up a fair old score.

The bookies have given the visitors an eighteen point start, but I'd still be lumping on the Rhinos to overcome that.

The forecast for today is for light rain moving in around five o'clock and then staying with us until the final whistle. It shouldn't be torrential but may be unpleasant for those on the Western Terrace.

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

Enjoy the game, and keep everything crossed that second place will be in the bag come ten o'clock tonight.

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