When the Rhinos won in the qualifying semi-final last year I had taken my septuagenarian neighbour Edward to the match using a spare ticket. It was his first live rugby league game for over forty
years and he was a great talisman, so after last weeks win over the Saints I checked his availability for Friday night and you'll be pleased to know that I've treated him to a ticket and he'll be
by my side again.
This will certainly be Rat Boys last game at the DW and could be his last ever game in Superleague after the worst kept secret is Superleague, his signature for the New Zealand Warriors, was
finally announced. Whether it will motivate him, or whether the emotion will overcome him, will have to be seen but it is a shame for the English game that he'll be off at the end of the year.
Leeds seem to have declared full fitness after several players looked to be doubtful for this weekend. Jamie Jones-Buchanan and Brett Delaney are both names after leaving the field with serious
looking injuries last week and Danny McGuire is in contention after his winning drop goal. There were plenty of other battered and bruised bodies last week too.
Wigan have had a weeks extra rest after seeing off the Giants in the opening play-off fixtures. Chris Tuson joins his skipper Sean O'Loughlin in the stands as a hamstring injury rules him out of
the game. Wigan fans are also saying goodbye to Pat Richards who is hanging up his Cherry & White shirt at the end of the season.
Ex-Rhinos Shaun Wane names his ninteen man squad as; Charnley, Crosby, Dudson, Farrell, Flower, Gelling, Goulding, Green, Hansen, Hughes, McIlorum, Mossop, S Powell, Richards, Smith, Taylor,
Thornley, L Tomkins, and S Tomkins.
Singleton and Clarkson will be straight swaps for Delaney and Jones-Buchanan should they fail to be fully fit by kick-off. Both will do a job if called upon but JJB and Delaney were both awesome
until injury forced them off the pitch last week.
McDermott has no other changes in his ninteen of; Hardaker, Jones-Bishop, Watkins, Moon, Hall, McGuire, Burrow, Leuluai, Peacock, Jones-Buchanan, Ablett, Sinfield, Delaney, Bailey, Kirke, Clarkson,
Achurch,, Singleton, and Sutcliffe. If he'd been offered that side mid-way through the season then he'd have snapped your hand off.
Wigan have blown hot and cold all season. Ten games in it looked like it would only be a matter of time before they were crowned as minor premiers but losing five in seven Superleague games over
the closing rounds saw them slump to fourth. And no side has ever got to Old Trafford from fourth.
Leeds scored a brilliant victory at the DW just three weeks ago when we blitzed them to record a 6-26.
History will teach us nothing, this will all be down to the best side on the night.
The bookies have made us the underdogs, and that will probably suit McDermott and the lads. They have given us a four point start on the coupon and I'd be taking that if I were a betting man. In
the last two seasons the Rhinos have had the additional motivation of being 'selected' in club call, but after Warringtons bizarre selection of the minor premiers, we won't have that anger to fall
The forecast for tomorrow is pretty good with only an outside chance of rain and temperatures pretty chilly in the high single
Hopefully the Leeds public will make it over the Pennines and cheer the lads on to victory and a return trip to our second home, Old Trafford.