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Rhinos to Sing in the Rain
Posted by southstander on April 10 2009 - 13:30:00

Numbered Days
Up until the last couple of seasons this would have been the game of the round, the derby of derbies, but with the Bulls falling on hard times this fixture is playing second or third fiddle. Saints and Wigan, and the Hull derby both rank ahead of this game in terms of crowd and the forecast downpour will further dampen the spirits, atmosphere and attendance.

A Saints narrow win at the JJB last night the Rhinos need just a three point winning margin to retake the top spot, and the bookies are giving the Bulls an eight point start on the coupon. Could this be a drink in the last chance saloon for Steve McNamara?

We preview the game here...

This week the Rhinos have lost Scott Donald after picking up a 'knock' against Saints last weekend. The 'knock' is unspecified and there is a slight suspicion that he is 'resting' after lacklustre performances in recent weeks. We also lost, and then regained, Luke Burgess. Banned by the disciplinary on tuesday he successfully appealed against the severity of the sentence and had the ban rescinded in favour of a larger fine. Biffa then gets a chance for a hit-up against his brother Sam. After missing out last week Ryan Bailey is back in the squad and likely to play.

Kallum Watkins is called into the nineteen and is likely to take Scott Donalds wing in the continued absence of Lee Smith. The nineteen is; Webb, Senior, Hall, McGuire, Burrow, Leuluai, Buderus, Peacock, Jones-Buchanan, Lauiti'iti, Sinfield, Diskin, Bailey, Kirke, Ablett, Burgess, Gibson, Watkins, and Jones-Bishop. I'd expect Jones-Bishop and Ash Gibson to be the ones to miss out but with Bluey you can never tell.

Steve McNamara must be wondering just what all him immediate pre-decessors had that he doesn't. The answer seems to be 'cash'. Three years ago the Bradford side was the 'who's who' of rugby league but now they are a mix of average players who wouldn't look out of place at Salford, Huddersfield or Wakefield. Paul Deacon has added his name to a Bulls injury list which also contains Morrison, Solomona and Godwin. There is surely no way that the nineteen of; Cook, Langley, Sheriffe, Burgess, Sykes, Scruton, Menzies, Newton, Crookes, Donaldson, Halley, Olbison, Lynch, Kopczak, Jeffries, Tadulala, Worrincy, Platt, and Nero, can get near a Rhinos side smarting from last week scup exit at the hands of St. Helens.

Three Bulls to watch;


Scrutes

Sammy

Semi

We played, and beat, the Bulls on four occasions last season including the 30-14 at Odsal. The last time we lost to the Bulls was in June 2007 when we lost by 14-38 at Headingley. The last time that the Bulls won at Odsal was in a play-off back in 2003, nine long years of home drought for the Bulls and their fans.

Southstander.com Prediction
Rhinos 38 10 Bulls

There is no other possible outcome for this one except a Rhinos victory. The Bulls threw away a convincing lead last week in the south of France and they are languishing in the bottom end of the table. Some of their key playmakers are missing and they will be reliant upon a mix of youngsters and old heads.

The likelihood is that it is going to rain between now and the end of the game. The crowd will be reduced, so there should be plenty of space on the terraces to stand with your umbrella up. The temperature isn't going to be too bad, it's just a matter of keeping dry.

The bookies given the Bulls and eight point start but I simply don't think that it will be enough.

See you there, enjoy the game.

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