It's a long time since I have felt this disillusioned about a Leeds side and their prospects for the season. It is probably fifteen years since Leeds were in such dire straits, then under the stewardship of Dean Bell, in a season where losing became second nature and we were only propped up in Superleague by Paris and Workington.
But losing to the Bulls does that to you!
The Rhinos are without Weller Hauraki who the disciplinary have seen fit to ban for a match, and this means the recall of Zak Hardaker to an otherwise unchanged squad. Ryan Hall looks to have recovered from last weeks knock and McGuire and Jones-Bishop are both back in the frame. The chuckle brothers have named their ninteen lambs to the slaughter as; Webb, Smith, Delaney, Hall, McGuire, Burrow, Leuluai, Buderus, Peacock, Jones-Buchanan, Ablett, Sinfield, Lauiti'iti, Bailey, Kirke, Clarkson, Jones-Bishop, McShane, and Hardaker.
But was McDermotts candid interview a masterstroke in reverse psychology? McDermott and masterstroke in one sentence - there is one for the record books.
You can rest assure that Maguire and Wane won't be sending out their charges with the phrase 'not here to win' ringing in their ears. After the Warriors demolished pretenders to the Superleague crown, the Huddersfield Giants, last weekend they will be looking for an even bigger win over a Rhinos side which snatched a draw from the jaws of vistory at Headingley in round eight.
Leeds friday nightmare will be made up of the following faces; Tomkins S., Goulding, Carmont, Richards, Deacon, Leuluai, McIlorum, Coley, Hansen, Tomkins J., O'Loughlin, Prescott, Lima, Hoffman, Finch, Mossop, Tuson, Charnley, and Hock.
Three Warriors to keep an eye on;
Just to compound the Rhinos problems we have the worst possible configuration of refereeing appointments. In their wisdom the RFL have given the whistle to the French nutter Halibut while boosting Steve 'Saint' Gansons ego by letting him play god in the video booth. It is a good job that it won't be close so therefore the ineptitude of these two won't effect the destination of the two points.
There has been just the one meeting between these two sides this season, the debacle at Headingley which ended in a 22-22 draw after the Rhinos capitulated a 22-4 lead with just fifteen minutes on the clock.
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.
Coach McDermott doesn't think we can win, and neither do I. In fact I think that we are in for a mullering at the hands of probably the best side in the competition. All that we can hope for is that we don't pick up any more injuries or stupid suspensions ahead of games that we have more of a chance of winning, away in Perpignan and then the double header againts Hull FC.
There is a very slim chance of any rain tonight and the temperatures look pretty good, getting a bit chillier towards the end of the game.
Take care, travel safe, and see you there.
Oh, and please respect the genius of young Mr Tomkins, no booing please!