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One Giant Leap Into The Play-Offs
Posted by southstander on September 07 2012 - 21:42:37

Embattled Gaffa
Leeds will travel to the newly monikered 'John Smith's Stadium' for the last game of the regular season without on-loan Giant Shaun Lunt.

By the terms of his loan deal, Lunt is not allowed to play against the Giants and this with McShane out on loan it looks like Burrow will be forced back into the hooking role with Stevie Ward at scrum half, although Liam Hood has been drafted back into the nineteen for the first time since the March.

A big win could give the Rhinos an unlikely outside chance at fourth and a trip to Wigan, however, a massive loss could see us drop to sixth.

We preview the game, read more here...

It looks like we got through last week unscathed, so the only chance will be the forced omission of Lunt which is likely to mean the inclusion of Ryan Bailey, fresh from being dropped from the England elite squad.

Weller Hauraki did enough last week to keep his spot, and Ian Kirke played well and should also be retained. With McGuire likely to be out for another couple of weeks we are getting settled on the side that will lead us in the play-off and injuries permitting there will be very few changes for next weekends opening play-off game against Wakefield, Bradford, or very unlikely against the Giants.

McDermott has named his nineteen man squad as; Jones-Bishop, Watkins, Hardaker, Hall, Burrow, Leuluai, Peacock, Jones-Buchanan, Ablett, Sinfield, Delaney, Bailey, Kirke, Clarkson, Hauraki, Griffin, Hood, Ward, and Keinhorst.

Giants supporters must be pulling their hair out. Once again a promising season has turned to dust and it is only a six point deduction for the Bulls which has kept them in seventh place. At times this season it has looked as though the team which started so well could miss out on the play-offs, but now they are most likely to travel to Hull FC next weekend, ready for an early exit.

Paul Anderson has had little time to make his mark since the departure of Nathan Brown, but whatever he is doing, it doesn't seem to be working too well for him at the moment.

It's all chance for Anderson who drops Eden, Lee, Sarsfield and Cording and puts his trust in a nineteen of; Grix, Lawrence, Cudjoe, McGillvary, Brough, Crabtree, Robinson, Mason, O’Donnell, Fa’alogo, Faiumu, Patrick, Ferguson, Wardle, Chan, George, Murphy, Moore, and Ferres.

Three Giants to keep an eye on;


Brough

O'Donnell

Crabtree

'The Hairy Halibut' is in the middle, so as ever, anything could happen. Always expect the unexpected with the erratic Frenchman.

The Giants have only won two out of their last eight games (and just three in their last fourteen), surprisingly against the Catalans Dragons, and less surprisingly against the Salford Reds. Contrast that to the start of the season where they won six in their first seven, including the opening night scalp of Wigan Warriors.

The Rhinos have only lost twice to the Giants in regular rounds of Superleague, in fact Leeds have only lost three times to Huddersfield in the league in the last fifty years.

We've suffered one defeat per season for the last three yeras. One at Headingley earlier this season by 12-22, in 2011 by 6-38, and the third at the Galpharm in 2010 by 20-26.

We visited Huddersfield in the last round of the competition last season and won by 31-24 before coming back two weeks later in the play-off and winning by 34-28 to set up that amazing game at Warrington, which saw us reach Old Trafford.

Southstander.com Prediction
Giants 20 28 Rhinos

It should be a Leeds win, the Giants are awful and both they and their fans know it. Very few on the Giants message board are optimistic of a win and most are hoping that we don't give them a massive tonking. This is a proverbial banana skin if I ever saw one. Margins have been tight between the two teams in recent weeks and I expect this will be the same.

The bookies have given the Giants a 12 point start on the coupon, that feels right about to me, but I'm going for the margin to be slightly tighter.

Sunday is supposed to be a really nice day with the forecast forecast suggesting zero chance of rain.

Last regular game, not a great deal to play for, this is all about getting the right attitude for the play-offs. Get behind the lads and cheer them on to fifth.

Enjoy the game.

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