After playing loss-win-loss-win over the last four games it looks like it is loss time again as a Warriors side smarting from defeat at the DW last week roll into Headingley with victory and a possible second spot in the embrionic table on their mind.
Brian McDermott thinks we have turned the corner and are starting to get our stuff together. Well, I think he must have had his eyes tightly closed for the first forty minutes last Sunday at Wakefield beacuse we were nothing short of awful. We've lost Luke Burgess again, this time to a knee injury, but Ian Kirke is back after missing out last week through illness. Lee Smith is back in the nineteen but this is more in hope than expectation of his making the seventeen as he is still plagued by a troublesome hamstring.
There is no sign of Delaney (except on twitter where he seems to be enjoying his food!) and Lauiti'iti seems to be enjoying his Headingley semi-retirement. Big Mac names his hopeful nineteen as; Webb, Smith, Senior, Hall, Burrow, Leuluai, Buderus, Jones-Buchanan, Ablett, Sinfield, Cross, Bailey, Kirke, Watkins, Hauraki, Clarkson, Pitts, McShane, and Singleton. I'd guess that at least two of those aren't fit enough to play but would put my money on Smith and Singleton being the ones to miss out.
Maguire has the terrible twosome re-united after Joel was forced to take one more week off than the ubiquitously hated cheat Sam. Deacon, one shred of decency in the Warriors side, is still absent after suffering a head injury enabling Brett Finch his second game of the season after impressing last week in a well beaten side.
This doesn't seem to be the same devastating Wigan side that we came up against last season and which eventually picked up the games biggest prize, but I still think that they will be too strong for the current decimated Rhinos line-up.
Maguire names his ninteen as; S. Tomkins, Goulding, Carmont, Leuluai, McIlorum, Coley, Hansen, J. Tomkins, O'Loughlin, Prescott, Lima, Hoffman, Finch, Roberts, Mossop, Farrell, Tuson, Marsh, and Charnley.
Three Warriors to keep an eye on;
Mr Silverwood is apparently in the middle with Ian Smith in the video booth with his finger on the button so at least we don't have to worry about either the Halibut or Child effect.
I'm just not feeling the good vibe about this one and while I have tried to be positive so far this season in the hope that we can be within striking distance of a decent play-off place when Messrs Peacock and McGuire return to the side, I can't see anything other than us getting a mullering.
We played the Warriors five times last season, three times at home and twice away. We won on two occasions, the brilliant 12-10 win in the Challenge Cup and that sensational night in the play-offs when we snatched a 27-26 win but then found that we'd peaked to early as the Warriors ended our season with a crushing 06-26 win a fortnight later which put them into the Grand Final.
The Warriors have scored exactly twenty-six points in each of the last three match ups. Sadly we've only managed a total of forty-five points in the three, losing two of them.
It will take a miracle for us to grab a win, or something pretty freaky from the referee, or impetuous from the terrible Tomkins. The bookies are only giving us a two point start on the coupon which on current form seems to show a bit of disrespect to the visitors, or perhaps they know something that we don't. Leeds will do well to get within a dozen of an angry and aggrieved Warriors.
It looks like a really nice day for tomorrow with the chance that the temperature could hit twenty and strong winds through the day should ease leading up to kick-off.
Despite my downbeat prediction of the result I am still looking forward to it and hoping that I've seriously misread out chances.
Take care and see you there.