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Leeds Go For The Semi's
Posted by southstander on June 24 2005 - 07:22:40

When all the signs for the Rhinos are as positive as they are for tonights match, I start to get a little worried.

The last time we played the Broncos was back in early April when we hammered them by 64-6. The last time we played them in the Challenge Cup was that glorious sunny afternoon at Wembley in 1999 when a 52-16 win saw us lift our first silverware in twenty years.

So why do I have a nagging doubt that tonight isn't going to be a walk in the park?

Tony Smith has added Nick Scruton and Francis Cummins to the seventeen that have scored him seventy points a match on each of their last two outings. I think that Nick is probably making up the numbers, but I wouldn't be surprised to see Franny get a run out, possibly in the place of the out-of-favour Calderwood. Apart from that it is 'as you were' as the Rhinos will look for another big score.

Tony Rea will be bolstered by his sides performance last week at Knowsley Road and despite his initial disappointment, at slipping to a draw when the game was there for the taking, on reflection he'll have been delighted with the point. He will welcome back Mark McLinden, Anthony Armour and club captain Francis Stephenson, all of whom missed last weeks game, but he is without the injured prop Filimone Lilohea.

The eighteen man London squad is; Armour, Bradley-Qalilawa, Dorn, Haumono, Highton, Hopkins, Leuluai, Lucky Luisi, Mbu, O’Halloran, Purdham, Smith, Stephenson, Sykes, Tookey, Trindall, Wells, Williams.

Three Broncos to watch;


Bradley-Qalilawa

McLinden

Leulai

The Rhinos have faced the Broncos on two occasions so far this season. The pre-season friendly ended up with an 18-6 Leeds victory after the Broncos put up a solid defence, but the Engage Superleague meeting saw the Rhinos as runaway winners. Tonight sees the first of two meetings in two weeks with the Broncos as the much anticipated 9th of July meeting in Perpignan gets closer and closer. Only the sell-out home game with the Bulls separates the two fixtures.

The storms, along with dropping temperatures are on their way, forecast to hit around tea-time. It might be worth grabbing a brolly, particularly if you are on one of the open terraces.

Southstander.com Prediction
Rhinos 42 20 Broncos

The Broncos have been given a 26 point start by the bookies who are obviously confident that we can maintain our performance from the last couple of weeks. I expect that the game might be a little bit closer than that, and despite the little bit of doubt that I have, I still think that we'll progress through to the semi-finals.

I'd guess that ticket sales at Headingley have not been great, as they've kept pretty quiet. Many will be saving their pennies for the Bradford game and the odd bottle of 'Chateauneuf du Pape' on the Perpignan trip. We'll be lucky to get 13 to 14k in for the game, so those who are there will have to make a lot of noise.

See you there, enjoy the game.

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