The Rhinos were stunned by the loss of Danny Buderus in the shambolic reverse at the JJB last friday night. Unlikely to play again this season it leaves the Rhinos reliant on Matt Diskin and leaves the door open for Paul McShane to get some game time at some point in the future.
On the plus side Brent Webb is back in the squad, and likely to play, after missing out last week. After scraping victories in previous weeks we were finally found out by an under strength, but 'up for it', Wigan side. The nineteen in which Bluey puts his faith this week is; Ablett, Burgess, Burrow, Diskin, Donald, Hall, Jones-Buchanan, Lauiti'iti, Leuluai, McGuire, Manning, Peacock, Ratu, Senior, Sinfield, Smith, Watkins, Worrall, and Webb.
The Wolves have seen a turnaround in their season since Smith took over from James Lowes. They thrashed basement side (and leeds conquerors) Salford Reds last weekend but are without King, Higham and the longer-term injured Wood for saturday nights clash. They do have Brian Carney in the side, a shock return to the game from retirement, who has been playing well since launching his comeback.
Tony Smiths nineteen visitors are; L. Anderson, V. Anderson, Bridge, Briers, Carney, Carvell, Clarke, Cooper, Grix, Harrison, Hicks, Johnson, Mathers, Mitchell, Monaghan, Morley, Rauhihi, Riley, and Westwood.
Three Wolves to watch;
We narrowly won the away game earlier this season by a meagre six points in a game which we should really have lost. That was Tony Smiths first game in charge of the Wolves, well before he had started to have any influence. That said it has been a topsy-turvey set of results this season for Warrington, but then hasn't it for the entire Superleague?
The Rhinos won the 2008 Headingley game comfortably, as they did in 2007, and you have to go back to the 22nd September 2006 to find the last Wolves triumph at HQ. A one-point thriller in the play-offs which saw us eliminated.
I'm ashamed to say that I am tipping a Leeds loss. I feel that last weeks loss at Wigan will have left a depressed camp, add the loss of Buderus and the fact that we only scraped to victory in previous weeks and I think that Smith will get his side up sufficiently to take the two points. I hate doing it, and I hope that the lads can prove me wrong.
The one thing in our favour is that the Wolves will have more than one eye on next weeks Challenge Cup semi-final at Widnes against Wigan and their chance to make it to Wembley. We may have one eye on a nice week off to prepare for the visit of the Tigers in a fortnights time.
Saturday nights weather is forecast for light showers but a reasonable temperature. Lets hope that it keeps dry for the duration.
The bookies have given the Wolves a ten point start, and with that I'd be lumping on Smiths men to take the money. The way were playing at the moment isn't worth that kind of handicap margin.
See you there, enjoy the game, fingers crossed.