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Will the Saints Go Marching In?
Posted by southstander on March 23 2012 - 13:01:25

Langtree Park
Played 7, Lost 4, Drawn 1, Won 2; not the statistics that you'd usually associate with St. Helens RLFC.

Four consecutive losses cost coach Simmons his job and saw the pairing of Rush and Cunningham installed until odds on favourite Nathan Brown takes up the role of first team coach at the end of the season.

To add to all that intrigue it's a second new stadium in two weeks, lets just hope that the parking is better that at Salford!

We preview the game, read more here...

The Rhinos team will look very different this week, due to the whole squad sporting dyed red hair in aid of their Sport Relief fundraising.

Jamie Peacock will be buzzing from signing a new two year deal that will keep him at Headingley until he's the ripe old age of thirty-six, and at the other end of the age scale it is widely rumoured that Stevie Ward will get his Leeds debut, off the bench, at the tender age of nineteen. Lee Smith also gets a recall after coming back from injury in the U20's game last week but Ryan Bailey is still serving suspension, and Jamie Jones-Buchanan is longer term injured. Strangely, McGuire is missing for what can only be presumed is illness or resting.

Big Mac will choose from a nineteen of; Webb, Jones-Bishop, Watkins, Hardaker, Hall, Burrow, Leuluai, McShane, Peacock, Ablett, Sinfield, L. Smith, Delaney, Kirke, Clarkson, Griffin, Moore, Hood, and Ward.

Saints have lost so many quality players over the last two seasons their form was bound to take a downturn as they struggle to bring through enough quality from the junior ranks. Big boots have not yet been filled, but their start to the season has shocked many, including their own fans. They now have one of the best stadia in the game, but not quite the side to match at the present time.

New coach, and plenty of Grand Final hurt, will both act as big motivators for Sunday evenings televised clash and you can never count the Saints out. Not even when they looks as woeful as they have in previous weeks. They will turn it on for the visit of the World Champions and it won't be an easy victory for Leeds. The bookies know that, they are only giving the Saints a four point start on the coupon.

Saints will be boosted by the return of Roby, but he's still surrounded by players lacking in experience but full of heart. Jamie Foster has paid the price for having an absolute nightmare last week against the Bulls as he's dropped from the squad.

Rush and Cunningham name their ninteen as; Wellens, Gardner, Shenton, Meli, Hohaia, Lomax, Perry, Roby, McCarthy-Scarsbrook, Puletua, Wilkin, Flannery, Laffranchi, Flanagan, Clough, Wheeler, Magennis, Dixon, and Makinson.

Three Saints to keep an eye on*;

Mr Nobody

Mr Nobody

Mr Nobody

The last time that the Rhinos played the Saints was that glorious night at Old Trafford last October when our lads made history by winning their fifth Grand Final, and from fifth spot, by the margin of 32-16.

The league matches were a different matter though as we lost both games against Saints in 2011, by 16-30 at home in March and by 16-42 away in June.

The last time we won an away game in St. Helens was way back in 2008 when thanks to a Luke Burgess try we managed to scrape a 14- 10 win. Just for the record books, Leeds largest away win against Saints was 42-20 in 2000, although I can't see us eclipsing that on Sunday. Prediction
Saints 12 26 Rhinos

I think that Leeds should win this one, and it is perhaps the most confident that I have ever been going to an away game in St. Helens. That is probably the perfect recipe for a loss then!

You can apparently park in any of the town centre car parks for 1 and then it is a fifteen minute walk (about 1 mile) to the ground.

The forecast for Sunday is warm, at up to 21 degrees, but with the potential for a few showers.

Travel safe, enjoy the new stadium experience, and shout the lads on to a win.

* Despite having a commercial contract with a Rugby League photograph supplier (, St. Helens have asked that all player images are removed from RLFANS.COM. To avoid embarrassment to our supplier we have removed these images.



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