After the devastating loss of Peacock and Burgess last week at the Jungle Leeds welcome back Sinfield, Buderus and Delaney, all of whom sat out the big win over Castleford. We are still without Carl Ablett who is sitting out his last game of a three match suspension for walloping Sam Tomkins. The embarrassment of riches continues in the backs and I'd expect that Senior may well be given a rest this week with Smith partnering Delaney in the centres. Scott Donald will play on the wing after announcing his shock end-of-season retirement in the press yesterday.
You can't argue with the strength of the side and even if two senior players do drop out (as I think they will) then we should still have way too much for a Dragons side who have really suffered in 2010. The nineteen is; Webb, Donald, Delaney, Senior, Hall, McGuire, Burrow, Leuluai, Buderus, Jones-Buchanan, Lauiti'iti, Sinfield, Diskin, Eastwood, Bailey, Kirke, Ambler, Clarkson, and Smith.
The Dragons have lost their last two with the 16-12 loss to the 'Quins last weekend looking like it may have superglued the to the bottom of the Superleague XV table. Despite a woeful season it must be remembered that they beat the Wolves in perpignan less than a month ago and they ran us close when we travelled to the south of France earlier in the season.
Kevin Walters has plenty of selection problems with Raguin, Mounis, Simon, Guisset, Fakir, Baile and Martins all injured. The Dragons have also confirmed that they have this week release Pelo from his contract to join Montpellier. The only light at the end of the tunnel as Walters startes his penultimate game at the helm is the return of Sherwin and McGuire, two key players back in two key positions.
His nineteen is; Greenshields, Bell, Sa, Bosc, Ferriol, McGuire, Elima, Johnson, Barthau, Gossard, Carlaw, Touxagas, K. Bentley, Walker, Casty, Gigot, Stacul, Vaccari, and Sherwin.
Three Dragons to watch;
We've won four out of the last five with just the loss to hub cap winners elect the Wigan Warriors as a blot on our copy book. A win tonight and a loss for Hull FC at Warrington will lift us to fourth and leave us needing just a draw at the KC Stadium in a fortnights time to make the all important top four. A loss, and an FC win will mean that fifth is the best that we can achieve and we could still slip as low as seventh. It really is a crucial game.
In last seasons play-off the Rhinos and the Dragons fought out that classic play-off semi-final at Headingley which saw the Rhinos into their third consective Grand Final with a narrow 27-20 win. We also picked up t he points earlier this season in a 34-24 win thanks to a brace from Danny McGuire. Leeds have won nine out of eleven games against the Dragons with the only two losses coming in France, the last being in 2009. Lets hope that tonight sees us retain our 100% home record against them.
The bookies have given the Dragons a sixteen point start on the coupon and with the side that we've got out against their war weary end of season side then I think this is pretty fair, although I am hoping for a much bigger win to give us that extra lift ahead of Wembley. Tonight we, an the the lads, need to banish all thoughts of next week and concentrate on the job in hand, giving ourselves a shot at fourth.
Todays forecast is 'all over the place like a mad womans custard' so be prepared for any eventuality except perhaps snow.
The Predicitions Prize Money thread for sponsors 'bet' is now on and would net the prize fund over £852.60 as it includes a 16/1 shot on a four point Wigan win.
Enjoy the game.