The Rhinos haven't beaten the Warriors in a regular Superleague round since the 13th March 2009, just over four years ago, when they won the game at Headingley by 34-10. We did, of course, beat the Warriors twice last season, including the last time that the two teams met. In the play-offs we scraped a heroic 13-12 victory at the DW Stadium to send the 'hub cap' winners crashing out of the competition. Earlier in the season we'd spoiled their Challenge Cup party as we eliminated them at the semi-final stage by 39-28. Wigan fans must hate us, and Shaun Wane and his men will have revenge at the front of their minds as they travel over the Pennines this afternoon.
Ryan Bailey, after being named in the ninteen for the last two games, may finally get back in the side after recovering from surgery. Mitch Achurch, cast into the Hunslet wilderness for the last two rounds, is also back in the ninteen but may not get the call into the final line up. Apart from that it is the same seventeen that took to the field last Friday evening; Watkins, Moon, Hall, McGuire, Burrow, Leuluai, McShane, Peacock, Jones-Buchanan, Ablett, Sinfield, Ward, Delaney, Bailey, Kirke, Clarkson, Achurch, Moore, and Vickery.
We are desperately missing Hardacre, not because Watkins can't play full back, but because we'd be better with him in the line rather than ineffectual as a sweeper. I'm not sure who will be left out of the nineteen but providing Bailey really is fit I'd expect it to be Achurch and either Moore or Clarkson.
The Warriors are likely to make just one change from the side that thrashed the Catalans Dragons by 38-0 last weekend, in the form of Darrell Goulding who returns after a three week injury.
Shaun Wane names his ninteen as; Burke, Charnley, Crosby, Dudson, Farrell, Flower, Green, Hughes, McIlorum, O'Loughlin, Powell, Richards, Smith, Goulding, Taylor, Thornley, L Tomkins, S Tomkins, and Tuson.
There are danger men all over the field and a lacklustre defence from the Rhinos will soon be found out.
I can't see us bouncing back sufficiently from last week to be able to put the Warriors to the sword. The loss might have galvanised the lads to push on and show us what they are capable of this week, but my feeling is that it is more likely to have dented their fragile confidence and expose the weakness that saw us slip up at Castleford and again last week. I'm not really looking forward to this.
Todays' forecast is for showers turning winters as the night wears on. Hopefully we'll miss out on any snow but it is going to be cold on the terraces tonight.
Hopefully I'm wrong, but I think we'll be witnessing 2013 defeat three tonight.
Enjoy the game.