All Leeds fans will be stood on the terraces at Wakefield but be praying for a miracle at Knowsley Road. If Wigan manage to upset the form book and get themselves a win against their arch rivals, say by a solitary one-pointer, then the Rhinos will have to beat Wakefield by fifty-one clear points to lift the 'hubcap'. A ten point win for the Warriors would leave the Rhinos needing a forty-one point victory.
I feel confident that a resurgent Rhinos can keep their side of the bargain, but am fearful that the Saints will extend their winning run to nineteen games. Wigan have found Saint impossible to live with so far this season. The closest that they got was a thirty-four point loss, and the aggregate over three games in 2008 has been 149-38 to the 'Red Vees'. Leeds visit to Belle Vue could be totally academic.
The Rhinos welcome back Scott Donald, Jamie Jones-Buchanan and Ryan Bailey from injury, all just in time to get a bit of game time ahead of the play-offs. After three weeks off through injury, Scott Donald needs a six try haul to have a chance of overtaking Ade Gardener as Superleagues top try scorer. Bluey means business and after one weeks rest, and another guaranteed next week, he's going hell for leather to keep up our side of the bargain with a big win. The nineteen is; Brent Webb, Scott Donald, Keith Senior, Lee Smith, Danny McGuire, Rob Burrow, Kylie Leuluai, Matt Diskin, Jamie Peacock, Jamie Jones Buchanan, Gareth Ellis, Kevin Sinfield, Ali Lauitiiti, Ryan Bailey Nick Scruton, Ian Kirke, Carl Ablett, Jordan Tansey, and Luke Burgess.
John Kear, clinging on to control at Belle Vue by his finger nails will be desperate for a winning end to a disappointing season. Wakefield have finished the season in seventh place, after showing masses of early season promise. Before the win over the Dragons a fortnight ago the 'Cats had lost eight on the bounce. For tonights clash of the Challenge Cup losing semi-finalists Kear has named a seventeen of; Blanch, Martin, Atkins, Rooney, Brough, Watene, Drew, Sculthorpe, MacGillivray, Demetriou, Petersen, Bibey, Henderson, Wilkes, Leo-Latu, Grix, Golden, Bibb, and Pitts.
Three 'Cats to watch;
Leeds haven't lost in Wakefield during the Superleague era. There have been twenty-four meetings between the sides since Wakefield joined Superleague in 1999 and the 'Cats have only recorded three wins, all at Headingley.
In games so far this season the Rhinos won 44-08 in February and 58-12 in May, but make no mistake, Wakefield will be up for this one as their last game of the season.
I'm expecting heaps of style and determination from the Rhinos which I am predicting will see us to a big win in tonights local derby. The only win for the 'Cats in the last two months was over a weakened Dragons side and the Rhinos in full flight will have way too much, even if we have storms of the biblical proportions which have been forecast.
The bookies have given the home side a fourteen point start but I really don't think it will be enough. The Rhinos by a bigger margin!
The forecast for tonight is for a torrential downpour, with an 80% chance of heavy rain for the whole evening. That will probably keep the lightweight supporters away but I'd still expect a large Leeds contingent to be getting drenched on the terraces.
Fingers crossed for a great game, an big win, and that the Saints partied very heavily after last weekends Challenge Cup Final win!
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