The Rhinos will give debuts to both close season signings, Tom Briscoe and Paul Aiton as they look to start their Rhinos careers with a win. Ryan Bailey has shrugged off an injury which he picked up in his testimonial against the Broncos and Stevie Ward makes a welcome return to the squad after almost a full season on the injury list.
Brian McDermott has been one of the least active in the winter transfer market but he has secured contract extensions for a number of first team stalwarts including; Peacock, Ablett, Kirke and Jones-Buchanan.
The nineteen man squad for the trip to the east coast is; Hardaker, Jones-Bishop, Watkins, Moon, Hall, McGuire, Burrow, Leuluai, Aiton, Peacock, Ablett, Sinfield, Ward, Delaney, Bailey, Clarkson, Briscoe, Sutcliffe, and Singleton. With the exception of Ward, who is unlikely to make the seventeen, it is anyones guess as to how the seventeen will be made up.
Hull KR have had a big staff turnover during the close season. They have strengthened with nine players including; Poore, Langley, Cockayne and Costigan. But they have also lost thirteen players including major playmaker Michael Dobson and a couple of big hitters in Hepi and Withers.
Sandercock has made it to 2014 and names his nineteen for the opener as; Burns, Carlile, Cockayne, Costigan, Eden, Green, Hall, Hodgson D., Hodgson J., Horne, Keating, Langley, Larroyer, Poore, Salter, Walker A., Walker J., Welham, and Weyman.
You have to go back as far as March 2000 to find the last time that the Rhinos lost their opening weekend fixture, on that occasion to Wakefield Wildcats by 18-22 in a game played at Headingley.
The Rhinos won the away game against Hull KR last season by a comprehensive 44-10 margin, but it has not always been a happy hunting ground with Leeds having won five of the eight away games played in the Superleague era.
The last time the two sides met saw the honours taken by the Robins as they secured a 12-16 win last August.
This should be a Rhinos win against a side who have a promising squad but which will still be settling and trying to remember each others names. A stable Rhinos will be looking for an injury free season and the chance to have a tilt at the title without an exhausted squad come September.
The weather might be a leveller although Sunday is forecast to be the best day of the weekend with a scarcity of the rain which has plagued us over the last few weeks.
A Leeds win for me, enjoy your trip, and make some noise in that nice new stand.