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All Eyes on the Prize at Old Trafford
Posted by southstander on October 05 2012 - 09:01:46

Whose Dreams?
For the fifth time in six years it is time to break out the lucky pants, salute every magpie, and keep your fingers crossed that the lads can, once again, overcome the odds and 'win it from fifth'.

This never say die Rhinos side travels to our second home, Old Trafford, to take on new opposition in Grand Final virgins, the Warrington Wolves, as Tony Smith tries to be the first coach to win the seasons ultimate prize with two different teams.

Can Leeds win their sixth Grand Final or will it be a 2012 Warrington double?

We preview the game, read more here...

After missing last weeks incredible one-point win at the DW stadium Danny McGuire is back in the Rhinos seventeen at the expense of Weller Hauraki. We undoubtedly missed Danny last week, as Wigan missed Tomkins, but the skipper stepped up to the plate and did the work of two play-makers. Danny's return leaves the coach with a major headache in who to leave on the bench out of Burrow, McGuire and Lunt. I expect it will be Lunt, but I hope that Shaun will get the start and that we'll use Burrow as the impact player off the bench.

While the Rhinos will be bouyed by their brilliant play-off run, and be full of self-belief after last years win at Old Trafford, the Challenge Cup Final defeat from six weeks ago must be a nagging and unpleasant memory which is difficult to bury. For this group of players it will hopefully be a motivation to make sure that the same outcome doesn't happen twice in a season.

McDermotts ninteen show just that one change with Hauraki missing out, and is named as; Jones-Bishop, Watkins, Hardaker, Hall, McGuire, Burrow, Leuluai, Peacock, Jones-Buchanan, Ablett, Sinfield, Delaney, Bailey, Kirke, Clarkson, Griffin, Moore, Ward and Lunt. I expect that it will be Moore and Clarkson who will be the unlucky ones who fail to make the seventeen.

Tony Smith has turned from Rhinos to Wolves talisman and both sets of supporters hold him in high regard. For the second time this season he will be plotting the downfall of his former club as his team seek the double. While finals are not a novelty for Warrington, Old Traffords unique atmosphere is, and there is just the outside chance that his side may freeze on the big night.

Tony Smith adds Gareth Carvell and Tyrone McCarthy to the seventeen which swept aside the Saints last week but he is likely to entrust the same seventeen with the biggest game of the season.

He names his ninteen from a full strength squad as; Atkins, Briers, Carvell, Cooper, Grix, Harrison, Higham, Hill, Hodgson, McCarthy, J Monaghan, M Monaghan, Morley, Myler, Ratchford, Riley, Waterhouse, Westwood, and Wood.

Three Wolves to keep an eye on;


Higham

Morley

Westwood

As the sides are the same as Wembley, so is the referee as Richard Silverwood is trusted with whistle. Hopefully he'll be on better form than he was at Wembley. Phil Bentham is in the video booth (same as Wembley) and the lines are being run by Child and Sharrad. This year it is honours even in the League with the Rhinos winning at Headingley in an early season encounter by 26-18. In early June we went to the Halliwell-Jones and got comprehensively beaten by 18-37.

But the most recent encounter between the sides was that disappointing game at Wembley when the lads let themselves down, and the Wolves picked up their third trophy in four seasons. We'll need to be much more on our game, and get some of the 50:50 decisions going our way, if we are to repeat our 2011 success.

Southstander.com Prediction
Rhinos 12 18 Wolves

I'm not going to break the habit of a season and tip us to win a major game so I am going with the bookies opinion and predicting a Wolves win by six points. Leeds are 17/10 for the game with the Wolves favourites at 1/2. You won't get rich betting on either side.

The forecast for tomorrow is pretty decent with only an outside chance of any rain and the temperature still in double figures around kick-off time. It looks like we might not be getting the traditional Old Trafford rain which has served us well in the past.

What we have learned this season is that we have a Rhinos side who won't throw in the towel and will play the full eighty. If we are on the top of our game, as we were last week at Wigan, then we can give a very good Wolves side a run for their money. I hope that it will be an absolute cracker of a game and that come full time it will be the Blue & Amber wearing broad smiles rather than the Primrose and Blue.

Have a great day and travel safely.

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