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More than Just a Game
Posted by southstander on April 06 2012 - 06:34:25

Plotting Our Downfall
With back to back losses against Saints and the Giants the Rhinos look to get 'back on the bike' with an emotion charged visit to Bradford for what could, but is unlikely to be, the last game at Odsal.

The Rhinos troubles pale into insignificance when you campare us to a Bulls side on the brink of financial collapse, holding the begging bowl, and waiting for the rest of Super League to save them from the abyss.

There was a time when this would have been the biggest spectacle in the game, but tonight is about more than just the rugby.

We preview the game, read more here...

After taking on the Bulls with no experienced half-backs the good news is that McGuire is back in the reckoning, although the Rhinos are still without Rob Burrow who may be back on monday for the visit of the Broncos. Brent Webb is over the illness which saw him absent last week and he should take over at full-back from Ben Jones-Bishop. Ryan Bailey is also available after serving a three game suspension for trying to run through Richard Silverwood to make a tackle and TMFMISL should add a bit more steel to the forwards.

Stevie Ward impressed last week on his home debut and makes the nineteen although I suspect he will be one of the players to miss out tonight, Richard Moore must fell unlucky to be dropped after putting in a Man of the Match performance last weekend.

Big Mac has put his faith in a nineteen of; Webb, Jones-Bishop, Watkins, Hardaker, Hall, McGuire, Leuluai, McShane, Peacock, Ablett, Sinfield, Smith, Delaney, Bailey, Kirke, Clarkson, Griffin, Hood, and Ward. I see Stevie Ward and Lee Smith as the two to miss out.

The Bulls players must all be looking at their employers current situation and wondering whether they will be free agents by the end of the weekend. It must be impossible to focus all their mental and physical efforts on the game, but clubs whose backs are against the wall often foster a seige mentality which gives them an extra lift.

Coach Potter has Ben Jeffries back at half-back after recovering from injury but looses Crookes (Injury) and Bateman (Suspension) from the side who lost narrowly to Hull FC last weekend.

Only two points behind the Rhinos, a fifty-five point win for the home side would see them sitting above us in the league. Unlikely, but stranger things have happened.

Potter names his nineteen as; Sammut, Diskin, Lulia, Whitehead, L'Estrange, Burgess, Jeffries, Addy, Hargreaves, Joseph, Kearney, Pryce, Platt, Langley, Purtell, Ainscough, Olbison, Elima, and Manuokafoa.

Three Bullies to keep an eye on;


Elima

Sammut

Jeffries

The Bulls have had a rough start to the season but have got four wins under their belt against Saints, Hull KR, Wakefield and Castleford. They have lost the last two, just like the Rhinos, against the Reds and Hull FC, so both teams have a lot to prove going into tonights game.

The last time these two met was at Headingley in June last year when the Bulls came to HQ and left with the two points after an impressive 18-12 win. It was at a time when we'd hit another low in a season that ended in joy for the Rhinos.

The last visit to Odsal came earlier in the year in late April and the Rhinos put in a far better performance to record a 30-22 win.

We also recorded a win at Odsal in 2010 and the last time we lost there was in 2009 when the home side got a 10-6 win.

Southstander.com Prediction
Bulls 18 26 Rhinos

The bookies have given the Bulls a ten point start on the coupon which I think will be about right. That said they gave the Giants a start last week!

It's a game that we should win, particularly with the return of McGuire and Webb. But this is no normal game for the Bulls and the emotion of the night, along with what promises to be an Odsal packed to the rafters, could give them an extra lift. We'll need to be on our guard.

There is going to be some rain around late afternoon according to the forecast but this should have cleared as we head towards the 8pm kick-off.

There should be a massive crowd at the game tonight as rugby rallies round to try and help the Bulls out of their current crisis. Travel safe, get there in plenty of time, and hopefully cheer the lads on to victory.

See you there.

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