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Old Trafford 2013 - Mission I
Posted by southstander on September 13 2013 - 17:33:24

Plotting our Downfall
Warrington Wolves in the play-offs is familiar territory for the Rhinos, we've beaten them twice in the season ending competition in the last two years, both times away from home.

Tony Smith must have been praying that the Warriors finished third and that he'd be welcoming them to the Halliwell-Jones, but once again he's up against his play-off nemesis as the Rhinos bandwagon rolls into town off the back of last weeks fantastic demolition of Wigan.

Matches between these two are always special and Saturday evening will be no exception.

We preview the game, read more here...

Ryan Bailey returns to the Rhinos fold after sitting out last week through suspension and is the only change to the ninteen that was named ahead of last weeks clash. It is a fully fit Rhinos squad (with the exception of Stevie Ward) and the returns to fitness have co-incided perfectly for Mrian McDermott who now has an embarrassment of stars from which to choose.

Sinfield and Burrow rotated at hooker and stand-off last week and it proved incredibly effective, bamboozling the opposition who didn't know who to close down. Tony Smith will have spotted the ploy so expect McDermott to throw something new into the mix, or double bluff and play the same tactic. With McGuire, Burrow, Sinfield and Sutcliffe all able to command the play with authority it really is a joy to watch.

The back line looks stable, Jamie Peacock will no doubt put on a brave face and honour the memory of his father who passed away during the week, and we'll be hoping that Carl Ablett and Jamie Jones-Buchanan can match last weeks performances.

The nineteen is; Hardaker, Jones-Bishop, Watkins, Moon, Hall, McGuire, Burrow, Leuluai, Peacock, Jones-Buchanan, Ablett, Sinfield, Delaney, Bailey, Kirke, Clarkson, Achurch, Singleton, and Sutcliffe.

Tony Smith has men returning to his side ahead of the biggest game of the season so far. Joel Monaghan is back after missing last week through injury and forward Ben Harrison is also back in contention after a lay-off.

Adrian Morley will be looking for a big game against his former emplyers before he moves on to Salford and there is undoubtedly talent all over the field for the home side.

The Rhinos will need to keep the likes of Briers, Ratchford and Westwood quiet and if they do then they could well earn themselves a weekend off next week, and the much maligned club call.

Smith's ninteen are; Atkins, C Bridge, Briers, Carvell, Cooper, Evans, Grix, Harrison, Higham, Hill, Hodgson, J Monaghan, M Monaghan, Morley, Ratchford, C Riley, Waterhouse, Westwood, and Wood.

Leeds travelled to Warrington back in 2011 for the elimination semi-final as massive underdogs and progressed to Wembley by the scoreline of 26-24. Last season the two sides met at Old Trafford, with the Rhinos again the underdogs, and we lifted the silverware after a sensational 26-18 win.

There have been two games between the two sides in 2013 with honours shared. The Rhinos won the game at Headingley in April by 28-22 but lost the return fixture at the Halliwell-Jones in July by 18-19, despite scoring more tries than the home team but failing with the Hardaker conversions.

Southstander.com Prediction
Wolves 18 20 Rhinos

The bookies have given the Rhinos a four point start on the coupon and I'd be taking that if I'd got a couple of quid spare. This is undoubtedly a game that the Rhinos can win and as previous seasons have shown, the Rhinos tear up the form book when it comes to the season finale. It should be a stonker of the game and we just have to hope that the weather doesn't spoil it as a spectacle.

Tomorrows forecast is pretty decent with temperatures in the mid-teens and only a small chance of rain.

So no excuses, get yourself over to Warrington and cheer the lads on with Old Trafford 2013, Mission I.

One thing is for sure, Warringtons fans will be much more nervous than ours.

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