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Old Trafford 2013 - Mission II
Posted by southstander on September 19 2013 - 17:22:18

Strange Territory
As we head into the sudden death part of the play-off, the games in which we've traditionally prospered, it would be easy for us ot feel sorry for ourselves after the way that we were so badly refereed last weekend by Mr Child.

All thoughts of the Briers attack and subsequent EGP need to be put out of our collective minds as we focus on the challenge of a resurgent St. Helens.

This has been the Grand Final of recent years and it is five seasons since we've lost a play-off game to the Saints, and we've never lost a play-off game to Saints at Headingley.

We preview the game, read more here...

The only slight concern for the Rhinos was an ankle injury to Danny McGuire but he's made a full recovery and takes his place in an unchanged squad from the side that lost 40-20 at the Halliwell-Jones last weekend.

Last week the lads had a great first half, but many of the players will feel that they let themselves down in the second forty and will be keen to make a bigger impression on Friday night. Brian McDermott names his squad as; Hardaker, Jones-Bishop, Watkins, Moon, Hall, McGuire, Burrow, Leuluai, Peacock, Jones-Buchanan, Ablett, Sinfield, Delaney, Bailey, Kirke, Clarkson, Achurch, Singleton, and Sutcliffe. I am expecting that Achurch and Clarkson will be the unlucky ones.

Saints coach is approaching unfamiliar territory as one of his sides enter the second week of the play-offs. He has his own injury worry with a hamstring injury to Lomax but the word from the Saints camp is that they are also likely to be unchanged from the side that put Hull KR to the sword on Saturday evening.

Brown names his nineteen as; Wellens, Turner, Soliola, Meli, Hohaia, Lomax, Roby, McCarthy-Scarsbrook, Puletua, Wilkin, Manu, Laffranchi, Clough, Jones, Makinson, Greenwood, Walmsley, Swift and Howarth.

The two sides have met four times in play-off rugby over the last five seasons. Three of them have been in finals, all ending in Rhinos victories (2011, 2009 & 2008), while the fourth encounter was a first round play-off game at Knowsley Road in 2008 which the Saints won 38-10. Prediction
Rhinos 22 20 Saints

I think that this will be an absolute nailbiter from the first whistle to the final hooter and either side could take the spoils and move on to next week and a likely encounter with Warrington.

The bookies are giving the Saints a six point start on the coupon and I think that I'd probably be taking them at that. I'd like to think that the Rhinos will put on a masterclass and demolish the opposition but with honours shared in 2013 (both sides winning away) then I really think it is too close to call.

The forecast for tomorrow is pretty good with only an outside chance of rain and temperatures pretty chilly in the high single figures.

Hopefully the Leeds public will turn out in numbers to support the lads and cheer them on to victory.



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