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No Room for Sentiment
Posted by southstander on February 25 2011 - 09:22:52

Great Start
Forget the World Club Challenge. Forget Saints versus Warrington Wolves. This is the game of the weekend as a top of the table clash sees Leeds and the Harlequins collide head-on at Headingley in the Rhinos first home game of the campaign.

Fellow 100%ers London have two good wins under their belts against the Dragons and Crusaders but the Rhinos will be a step up in opposition for them.

With Castleford having a week off due to Wigans international committments, one of these sides will be sat alone at the top of the table later this evening.

Read more here...

The Rhinos camp will still be buzzing after the announcement that captain Kevin Sinfield will be a 'one-club' player as he pledged the rest of his playing career to the Rhinos with a new four year deal. Last weeks win at Hull FC, whilst still not the most polished performance, showed a marked improvement over the game against the Bradford a week earlier and hopefully this week we can raise it again.

Big Mac welcomes his apprentice to Headingley as thirty year old Rob Powell brings his London side to HQ. But come eight o'clock tonight there will be no room for sentiment as he's be looking for his men to run in a big victory to send a message to Superleague that we'll be a force to be reckoned with this year.

He names a ninteen of; Webb, Smith, Clarkson, Senior, Hall, Burrow, Leuluai, Buderus, Jones-Buchanan, Pitts, Sinfield, Lauiti'iti, Cross, McShane, Kirke, Burgess, Watkins, Hauraki, and Jones-Bishop. You pick the two you'd leave out from that lot? I'd guess on one of the senior players, perhaps Webb and perhaps McShane will be unlucky again. We'll only know half an hour before kick-off.

Coach Powell has had the perfect start to his 'Quins coaching career and will be hoping, rather than expecting, that it doesn't come of the rails tonight.

Rhino Luke Ambler is on loan and should get a game. Powell has the influential Rob Purdham back and available and could give ex-Rhino Mark Calderwood a run against the side where he made his name alongside another ex-Rhino Danny Ward.

The nineteen is; Ambler, Bailey, Burnett, Calderwood, Clubb, Dorn, Ellis, Gale, Howell, Koupartisas, Krasniqi, Melling, O'Callaghan, Pryce, Purdham, Randall, Temata, Ward, and Wilkes.

Three 'Quins to watch;


Ambler

Calders

Purdham

The 'Quins have narrow victories over the Dragons and Crusaders so far this season whereas the Rhinos scalps have been the Bulls and Hull FC. The Rhinos have a slightly better points difference and are currently second in the table with the 'Quins third. Only Castleford share these two sides 100% Superleague XVI record, and one of those will be gone tonight.

The Rhinos won the corresponding feature at Headingley comfortably by 62-04 against the side then coached by Brian McDermott. The return game at The Stoop was also won by Leeds but with a narrower 42-22 margin.

But there is no room for complacency, when the 'Quins came to Headingley in 2009 they humiliated the Rhinos by recording a 04-21 victory, the Rhinos only avoiding a humiliating home nilling thanks to a Burrow try. Lets hope that this particular history won't repeat itself.

Southstander.com Prediction
Rhinos 36 24 Quins

I suspect that we might be in for a big scoring game as both sides relish the apparent arrival of spring. Temperatures are unlikely to dip much below ten degrees but there is the chance of light rain.

Leeds should have too much for the visitors but they will throw everything in to the game with the majority of their players feeling that they have a point to prove against their old boss.

It's the first home game of the season and hopefully there will be a good crowd to create an electric atmosphere for a great game of rugby league.

See you there, enjoy the game.

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