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Wembley Awaits
Posted by southstander on August 06 2010 - 09:27:47

One Step Away
It's just five weeks since the Rhinos stunned the Saints with a comeback 28-24 victory at Headingley thanks to two Danny McGuire tries and a winner from Ryan Hall.

But saturday is a whole different ball game as both sides look to make it to Wembley on the 28th August, Saints second home!

Our semi-final opponents have lifted the trophy five times since Iestyn Harris raised it aloft at the old Wembley wearing Blue & Amber in 1999. It's time we did it again.

We preview the game here...

The corridor to the treatment room at Headingley must be the most travelled thoroughfare in Yorkshire at the moment. Ali Lauiti'iti is once again missing through injury after just two and a half games back since his last long lay off. Carl Ablett failed in his attempt to get a three game ban overturned but Kirke, Diskin and Lee Smith (dropped last week) are all in the named seventeen. Of the three it is Diskin who will be most warmly welcomed back by the fans who have seen their side suffer when Buderus has been spelled over the last few weeks.

Burrow, McGuire and Sinfield will form the 'holy trinity' at stand-off, scrum-half and loose-forward for the first time since the 34-30 win over the Wildcats at Murrayfield over three months ago. I'm still not sure where Lee Smith is going to fit in, and suspect that he may be one of the nineteen who missed final selection alongside either Burgess, Clarkson or Ambler. We are starting to look a lot more balanced and this is a side that could beat the Saints.

Blueys nineteen is; Webb, Donald, Delaney, Senior, Hall, McGuire, Burrow, Leuluai, Buderus, Peacock, Jones-Buchanan, Sinfield, Diskin, Bailey, Kirke, Burgess, Ambler, Clarkson, and Smith.

The biggest news from the Saints camp is the failure of Kyle Eastmond to make the nineteen after a fortnight of 'will he, won't he'. He is a massive loss for the Saints for this crucial game but Potter has been able to recall Gidley and Lomax to his side to ensure the Saints have a worldbeating back line.

Rhinos tormentors Pryce and Cunningham will both figure and it will be up to Leeds to keep these two quiet. As ever Graham and Roby will be dangermen and we'll have to be on the top of our game on the wings so that Gardner and Meli don't make us look stuipid.

The Potter nineteen is; Wellens, Gardner, Gidley, Meli, Pryce, Cunningham, Graham, Puletua, Wilkin, Flannery, Roby, Hargreaves, Moore, Clough, Ashurst, Lomax, Emmitt, Magennis, and Foster.

Three Saints to watch;




It's honours even this season with the Rhinos taking the game at Headingley 28-24 but the Saints winning at Knowsley Road in April by 20-41. This is the fifth time in ten years that we've played the Saints in a semi-final. In the previous four Saints have won on three occasions (twice in Wigan and once in Huddersfield) with Leeds just progressing to the final thanks to the last minute equaliser and extra-time winner back in 2003.

The sides have met on just seventeen occasions in the Challenge Cup with Saints leading by ten wins to Leeds seven.

But history counts for nothing come 2:30 tomorrow afternoon. Prediction
Rhinos 28 20 Saints

We can win this, and perhaps this is the game that our season has been geared up for. The lads and the club have made no secret about their desire to get to Wembley and to lift the famous trophy that we last won in 1999. It is the one missing medal for most of the Rhinos players and they will all be giving 110% tomorrow to make sure that they take centre stage at the end of August.

This won't be a Rhinos damp squib like it was in 2008. This is a different Leeds against a weaker Saints.

Tomorrows forecast is a bit grizzly with some wind and a high chance of rain through the afternoon. Rain, we know what Saints think about rain!

This is one that we have to win, and our best chance of 2010 silverware. Travel safe, enjoy the game, and see you there.



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