The game affectionately referred to as "The Airport Derby" took a new twist yesterday when the Rhinos announced the resigning of Lee Smith on a four year contract. Leeds have managed to shoehorn Smith into the squad for the game tonight as the official website has started to plug the game as the return of the prodigal son. The unlucky person in all of this could well be Tom Bush, he did nothing wrong at all last week against Wigan but could find himself losing his place for the big one. Ryan Bailey was fined rather than suspended by the Judiciary for a chicken wing on Fielden at the DW Stadium last week so he will be available to take his place in the team.
Leuluai and Delaney should also have recovered from their bugs and should return to the line up. Captain Kevin Sinfield could return to the line up but don't be too surprised if he is held back for the trip to France on Monday. Smith boosts what has been a weakened back line at times this year.
The 19 named on Tuesday were Webb, Delaney, Senior, Hall, McGuire, Burrow, Leuluai, Buderus, Jones-Buchanan, Lauitiiti, Sinfield, Diskin, Bailey, Kirke, Burgess, Pitts, Ambler, Bush, Clarkson but since then Smith has come into the equation someone will be need to be removed from the squad named. There are still plenty of players missing for the Rhinos through injury
Bradford, for the first time in a long time, go into the game above the Rhinos on the league ladder. But there are still signs of inconsistency from the Bulls. Brilliant in beating Wigan one week but getting heavily defeated at Warrington the week after.
Bradford have invested heavily in the off season to bring in Matt Orford, Heath L'Estrange and Brett Kearney and with Beaver Menzies at the club there is a definite Sea Eagles influence beginning to run through the club. Bradford are hoping the captain Andy Lynch can return from an ankle injury to take his place in the side and McNamara needs to decide if to recall Dave Halley at full back or leave Brett Kearney there.
The Bulls 19 named were Sykes, Langley, Sheriffe, Kopczak, Donaldson, Scruton, Menzies, Kearney, Godwin, L'Estrange, Halley, Nero, Lynch, Reardon, Hall, Platt, Worrincy, Whitehead, Orford.
Three Sea Eagles, sorry I mean Bulls to watch;
Leeds come into this game with only two victories at home so far in the league this season and will be looking to springboard their season with a defeat of their biggest rivals.
The teams have met once already this year when the teams clashed in Matt Diskin's testimonial match and the Rhinos ran out 12-10 winners. Last season it was honours even, Bradford won a Good Friday clash 10-6 in controversial circumstances at Odsal before the Rhinos gained revenge with a 33-20 win at the end of June.
Hopefully with a few bodies back on board Leeds could have too much for the Bulls. It would be unthinkable to be four points behind the Bulls in the table at this time of year. Being in the Top 4 come September must be the aim for the Rhinos.
If you're in the exposed areas of the ground, wrap up warm as it's going to be a cold night. No rain is thankfully forecast but the temperatures leave a lot to be desired.
Don't forget there is a curtain raiser when the Trafalger Cup will be contested by the Paras and Marines. Kick off for that one is 5pm so no reason not to get into the ground early.
Enjoy the game!