The first thing to say about sundays play-off is that the RFL, in their wisdom. have
appointed Thierry Alibert as the referee. This introduces an unexpected degree of
randomness to the proceedings which could help us or hinder us. You never know with 'the
halibut', he's not biased, and I am sure he has no axe to grind with Leeds, but he is
just such an inconsistent official that you never know what is going to happen. It could
be worse he could be the video referee!
The Rhinos as still without the injured JJB and Clarkson (another indications that we are
saving ourselves for future battles?). These two join Peacock and Burgess meaning once
again that we are left looking pretty weak in the pack. Expect Keith Senior to continue
his new role in the second row where he did a decent enough job at the KC.
Blueys ninteen is; Webb, Donald, Delaney, Senior, Hall, McGuire, Burrow, Leuluai,
Buderus, Lauiti'iti, Sinfield, Diskin, Eastwood, Bailey, Kirke, Ablett, Pitts, Ambler,
Coach Maguire makes just one change to the side which put the final nail in the Bulls sorry 2010 campaign last weekend with Hansen back in the nineteen after recovering from injury.
Sam Tomkins is likely to have one eye on Ablett after his attempted decapitation last time the sides met and 'comedy' Stuart Fielden will be looking for a better performance than he has managed on recent outings against the Rhinos.
It is a fearsome looking nineteen of; Gleeson, Carmont, Richards, S.Tomkins, Leuluai, Fielden, Riddell, Coley, Hansen, J.Tomkins, O'Loughlin, Prescott, McIlorum, Paleaaesina, Deacon, Goulding, Farrell, Marsh, and Tuson.
Three Warriors to watch;
We've played the Warriors on three occasions already in 2010 with Wigan winning both
league encounters and the Rhinos taking the Challenge Cup match-up by just two points.
In the one meeting between the sides at the DW Stadium the Warriors thrashed us by 04-24. The other
seasons meeting at Headingley just over a month ago ended in another easy win for the
visitors, this time by 26-12. You have to go
all the way back to the 22nd August 2008 for the last Rhinos away win in Wigan, and what
a win it was as we smashed the opposition by 52-16.
I just can't see us doing it at the first time of asking, and if we did, it would most
likely set up another visit to the DW in a fortnights time for the semi-final
(eliminator). I suspect that many others will have the same thoughts and that it could be
far from a sell-out. Ticket prices were reduced to just £13 earlier in the week which
must give some indication of the concerns about bums on seats.
The forecast looks
reasonable with some morning fog clearing to afternoon sunshine. Take care on the drive
At the end of the day this game counts and matters for little except filling the SKY TV
schedules. Don't get me wrong it would be fantastic to win, but if we are going to beat Wigan
once more this season I'd rather we did it in the final elimination game, or even the Grand
Final. I'll not be too disappointed if we lose this Sunday.
Take care and enjoy the game!