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Diskin's Reward is Bulls Hit
Posted by southstander on January 15 2010 - 09:20:53

10 Years!
Perhaps it is a sign of old age that it seems like just two minutes since I was watching Matt Diskin captain the academy side to the Championship in 1999 and making his debut against Castleford in February 2001. But 2010 is Matts tenth playing season and he's rightly been rewarded with a Testimonial season, the latest in a long line of career Rhinos who have contributed the our unprecedented success over the last three seasons.

Matts Testimonial season kicks off with a pre-season 'friendly' against neighbours the Bradford Bulls and with just twelve days left before the opening fixture of Superleague XV in Wrexham.

We preview the game here...

Sundays game kicks off at 2:30 and hopefully the weather turning milder, the draw of a game against the old (if somewhat dishevelled) enemy, and a pretty strong side being named by Bluey, will all contribute to a bumper crowd and payday for Matty.

Bluey has a picked a pretty strong line-up including twelve players who featured in the 2009 Grand Final. Brett Delaney makes his Rhinos debut and Danny Buderus expected to return from the injury that kept him out of the end of last season.

Blueys side is; Ambler, Amor, Bailey, Buderus, Burgess, Burrow, Coady, Delaney, Diskin, Donald, Hall, Jones-Buchanan, Lauitiiti, Leuluai, McGuire, Pitts, Sinfield (c), Watkins, and Webb.

How Steve McNamara kept his job last season us a secret that only the directors at Oldslum can know. With the Bulls finishing ninth in the table and missing out on the extended play-offs you can only imagine that he must hold a pretty embarrassing set of negatives! The good news for the rest of Superleague is that he is still at the helm for 2010 showing a distinct lack of ambition from our near neighbours.

McNamara has put all of his eggs in one basket with the massive winter signing of Matt Orford who will debut on sunday. Danny Sculthorpe has been ruled out with a back injury and a bad knee means that Michael Platt is also not available for selection. The Bulls coach has named a squad of twenty-one for the visit to HQ and these are; Halley, Sheriffe, Sykes, Nero, Reardon, Kearney, Orford, Lynch, L’Estrange, Scruton, Worrincy, Langley, Menzies, Kopczak, Hall, Godwin, Donaldson, Whitehead, Olbison, Addy, and Crookes.

Three new Bulls to watch;


Kearney

Orford

L'Estrange

Sunday is Matt Diskins day. In nine years he has made 210 appearances (187 starts) and scored 40 tries. He made his Leeds debut on the 24th February 2001 in the 42-12 Challenge Cup win over the Castleford Tigers taking the number nine jersey the following season when Robbie Mears decided to quit England half way through his contract. 2004 was Matts finest year, winning the Harry Sunderland Trophy at Old Trafford while assisting his team win the Superleague Grand Final for the first time. He was recognised as Leeds player of the year and called into the GB squad. Just seventeen minutes into his GB debut in 2004 he suffered a sickening knee injury. He fought back to fitness in 2005 and has been a key component in the Rhinos success over the last three seasons. And to top all of that he is one of the nicest, grounded and humble people that you could meet.

Matt deserves your support on sunday.

The Bulls shocked us at Oldslum last season with a 10-6 victory in a game that no-one gave them a prayer of winning. Leeds took revenge at Headingley in June with a 33-20 win. The last time that the Bulls won at Headingley was a 38-14 win in June 2007, a game where Matt Diskin scored a Leeds consolation try.

Southstander.com Prediction
Rhinos 28 10 Bulls

Sunday should see a great game between two side which are not far from full strength, in a fitting Testimonial for Matt. The triple champions should have too much for McNamaras' visitors but with the animosity that these two sides can generate between them it could turn into an absolute cracker. If the Bulls can get under our skin then they stand a chance, I just hope that both coaches don't go too crazy with multiple substitutions, should these be free for the game.

Hopefully there will be plenty there to support the game.

Keep safe and enjoy it.

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