Last Sundays game at our country cousins cost us more than just two league points. Jamie Peacock and Brett Delaney are both missing for tonights game, but likely to be fit enough for the World Club Challenge in weeks time. Ryan Baileys injury may be more serious and he is waiting for a scan to determine whether he will need surgery. Despite being knocked out by the illegal challenge which saw Castleford darling Rangi Chase pick up a two game suspension, Hardaker is fit enough to start.
What all that means is recalls for Leuluai, Ward and Moore. The former pair being included in last weeks nineteen but not getting a game. Richard Moore got a run out for Hunsley last weekend and will leap at the chance to get himself back into the reckoning for a first team spot. Expect fireworks from the big man if he gets the nod.
Daryl Griffin looks likely to get his first game of the season, and Liam Hood is also drafted into the nineteen man squad which McDermott has named as; Hardaker, Watkins, Moon, Hall, McGuire, Burrow, Leuluai, McShane, Jones-Buchanan, Ablett, Sinfield, Ward, Kirke, Clarkson, Achurch, Griffin, Moore, Keinhorst, and Hood.
Phil Vievers will shuffle his pack in light of the two big defeats. With Theo Fages out, still suffering after a shocking illegal hit by Julien Bousquet (4 game suspension), Marc Sneyd gets called into the squad. Vievers also recalls Howarth, Wild and ex-Rhino Ashley Gibson who all missed last weeks trip to the south of France.
The Reds ninteen is; Murphy, Broughton, Gibson, Williams R., McGoldrick, Sneyd, Jewitt, McPherson, Ashurst, Dixon, Wild, Howarth, Gledhill, Boyle, James, Neal, Owen, Evalds, and Ford. A real raggle-taggle bunch if you ever saw one!
The Reds recent form is poor and they are without a win in the last nine. You have to go back to Round 20 of Superleague XVII to find their last victory, a two point home win over Hull KR.
There have been twenty-nine Superleague meetings between the two sides with Salford winning just one, the game at Headingley in Superleague XIV when they shocked the Headingley crowd with a 20-30 victory.
In the two Superleague encounters last season the Rhinos won by 56-16 at The City of Salford Stadium in March, and then by 46-12 at Headingley in August. The two sides also met in the cup, also over in Salford, when the score was far closer endin gin a 16-10 win for the Rhinos.
Salford have a thirty-four point start on the handicap, and that is exactly where I'd put them. This one should be simple for the Rhinos, even with a depleted squad. Lets hope that the lads give it their all and don't have one eye on next weeks mouthwatering World Club Challenge.
The weather forcast is pretty decent. A bit warmer than last week, but with a chance of fog later on in the evening.
Fingers crossed for a big bounce-back win.
Enjoy the game.