We have to hope that Salford don't have the firepower to spoil the Leeds party as their de-mob happy players look forward to their winter break in their last game of the season, while Leeds hopefully have another month of competition left as we strive for a third consecutive Grand Final win.
Bluey is without the suspended bad boys Senior and Jones-Buchanan. The disciplinary committee saw fit to hand out one game suspensions for the pair, along with a small fine, for beating up Saints last friday night. Kevin Sinfield has been named in the nineteen but I have a suspicion that after picking up tissue damage in a clash of heads in the Saints game he could be rested or started on the bench. Nineteen year old Jay Pitts has made the squad for the first time since signing from Wakefield in July and the word from the camp is that he may well get a game tonight. Kallum Watkins is also in the squad in place of Senior in an eighteen of; Webb, Donald, Smith, Hall, McGuire, Leuluai, Burrow, Peacock, Lauiti'iti, Sinfield, Diskin, Bailey, Kirke, Ablett, Burgess, Worrall, Watkins, and Pitts. Jones-Buchanans replacement in the ninteen has not been named.
Salford will be desperate to end the season on a high note after what has essentially been a disappointment for the fans and players. There have been the highlights such as their comprehensive win at Headingley but these have been few and far between. McRae will have spent the week telling his side that they can win and give Rhinos fans a nervous night watching the scoreline from Knowsley Road.
One of Leeds perennial 'thorns' Robbie Paul will want to leave the Willows on a high as he moves on to new challenges and what could be better for him than a win over his old adversaries? John Wilshire is also making his last appearance for the Reds as he has turned down a new contract and returns to Australia after tonights match.
McRae has named a ninteen of; Wilshere, Henry, Littler, Parker, McGilvray, Smith, Ratchford, Cashmere, Alker, Stapleton, Adamson, Sidlow, Swain, Paul, Sibbit, Leuluai, Nash, Fitzpatrick, and Spencer. The now departed Myler is still recovering from injury which will be a relief after he tortured us earlier in the season.
Three Reds to watch;
The last time that we played the Reds at The Willows was in 2007 when we scraped a 30-26 win. We've never lost at Salford during the Superleague era, and until April of this year we'd not lost a game in summer rugby. That once proud record was shattered with the 20-30 defeat, which plunged us into a mini early season crisis, now long forgotten as we sit pretty at the top of the table. But the Reds could have the last laugh and a say over where the hub cap ends up.
In the form that we are in this should be a game that we win at a canter. There are many factors which could come in to play but our professionalism should win out and the loss of Senior and JJB shouldn't be too much of a problem.
There is very little chance of rain today and the weather should be pretty pleasant in the late 'teens up until kick off. No excuses with the weather for the Rhinos.
The bookies given the Reds a fourteen point start, eight less than they had when the beat us earlier in the season, but I suspect that this will still not be enough for them.
See you there, enjoy the game, and cheer the lads all the way to the hub cap.