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Rhinos: Mission Impossible
Posted by southstander on September 30 2011 - 08:27:39

According to anyone that knows anything about rugby league, this is where the Rhinos season comes to an end, at the home of the Warrington Wolves. Just one game short of an Old Trafford appearance.

The media has been writing the Rhinos off all week, focussing their attention on which of Saints and Wigan will be playing the Wolves in the final.

The bookies have given the Rhinos a twelve point start, you can get 5/1 on the Rhinos and the home side are 1/8 to win the game.

So why are we bothering going?

Read more here...

McDermott will have been furious after the Rhinos took their foot off the gas last weekend at the Galpharm and had a rather more nervous last five minutes than they should have done. You can be sure that we won't do the same against the Wolves.

Carl Ablett is back in the Rhinos ninteen after a fortnight off with concussion but Watkins still isn't fit. Ablett will almost certainly be back in the starting line-up, causing some interesting selection dilemmas. Will McDermott play Ablett and Delaney in the centres, leaving last weeks hat-trick hero Hardaker out of the side? Or will Delaney switch back into the second row with Hardaker and Ablett in the centres.

McDermott has named his ninteen as; Webb, Delaney, Hall, McGuire, Burrow, Leuluai, Buderus, Peacock, Jones-Buchanan, Ablett, Sinfield, Lauiti'iti, Bailey, Kirke, Hauraki, Clarkson, Pitts, Jones-Bishop, and Hardaker. I've no idea who will miss out, and I don't envy McDermott the tough decisions which he will have to make over the coming hours.

As Phil Clarke said on SKY, this is Tony Smiths seven year old in a fight to the death with his newborn. There is no doubting that the Smith legacy still runs deep through the Rhinos side and our tremendous success in '07, '08 and '09 was due to the hard work that he put in during his Rhinos tenancy.

Smith has Ben Westwood available for selection after missing the last six weeks with a knee injury but is without Paul Wood who is suffering with a back problem.

Warrington have won six consecutive matches, stretching back to the cup semi-final loss to Wigan, and in Superleague the winning run stretches back to June 12th when they lost at home to Salford. They humiliated the Huddersfield Giants (47-0) a fortnight ago and have had a fortnight to recover from what was not a particularly tough run out.

Smith names his nineteen as; Anderson, Atkins, Blythe, Bridge, Briers, Carvell, Clarke, Cooper, Grix, Harrison, Hodgson, King, J. Monaghan, M. Monaghan, Morley, Myler, Riley, Solomona, and Westwood. Oh dear!

Three Wolves to watch;


Mozza

Wuff

Briers

It's best not to consider meetings between these two sides in 2011. We thought that we'd got a real mauling when they visited the Halliwell-Jones Stadium earlier in the season. On that occasion we lost by 24-40 at a time when nothing was going right for the Rhinos.

But it was worse when the Wolves visited Headingley at the end of May when we lost by 6-42. On aggregate we've lost 30-82 this season.

But it's not all doom and gloom. The Rhinos won at the Halliwell-Jones as recently as last season with a 37-30 win. During the Superleague era the Rhinos have won eleven out of eighteen meetings in Warrington.

Southstander.com Prediction
Wolves 32 14 Rhinos

I'm afraid that I am with the bookies on this one. While my heart believes that we have the players and the belief to spring what would be one of the shocks of the season, my head is telling my heart not to be so bloody stupid. I think that we'll get beaten by more than the bookies suggested twelve points, but I'm desperate for the lads to prove me wrong.

After a gorgeous day it's likely to cloud over as kick-off nears with a very small chance of rain during the match.

If we are going to do anything tonight the lads will need our vociferous support. So get there, and get behind the lads, and hope that we can accomplish our mission impossible.

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