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Wildcats - Part Deux
Posted by southstander on April 10 2014 - 07:20:25

500 Up
Friday night has been designated as JP night to celebrate the 500th career appearance of the living legend. The big man has been playing at the highest level in the game for fifteen years, the last eight of which have been in Blue and Amber.

While JP will be wearing the broadest grin, the omission of Zak Hardaker in favour of Ben Jones-Bishop will test the young full-backs maturity. Hopefully he'll grasp the chance of a rest and come back with all guns firing for the busy Easter weekend.

After last weeks simple victory over this rounds opponents, the difficulty for the Rhinos could be complacency. Brian McDermott will be ensuring his side approach this game with full professionalism.

We preview the game, read more here...

There are no hints of any injury to Hardaker, it just seems that he's being rotated in the way that Ryan Hall was a couple of weeks ago. McDermott must be having sleepless nights trying to work out how to keep our back line of glittering stars happy when there is one too many of them.

More bad news emerged from the Rhinos camp this week with Paul Aiton being ruled out for up to three months with illness and joining Jamie Jones-Buchanan as a player who will not be back until after mid-season. The loss of Aiton will mean an extended run for Rob Burrow at hooker, cementing the Sinfield/McGuire half-back partnership.

With just the one change to last weeks squad, McDermott names his nineteen as; Jones-Bishop, Watkins, Moon, Hall, McGuire, Burrow, Leuluai, Peacock, Ablett, Sinfield, Ward, Delaney, Bailey, Kirke, Clarkson, Achurch, Briscoe, Sutcliffe and Singleton. It would be a brave man to put a wager on which two will miss out on Friday nights action.

Embattled Richard Agar, whose side have shipped in over 100 points in their last two games, is forced to make four changes to his squad as a result of injuries suffered in last weeks match.

Injuries have sidelined Tautai, Lyne, Collis and Daniel Smith, the latter being knocked unconscious during last weeks game. Into the Wildcats squad come; Chris Riley, Lucas Walshaw, Chris Annakin and loanee from the Rhinos Luke Briscoe.

Agar won't be expecting a win for his side, but will be hoping for a much improved performance from his side and a far closer losing margin than he suffered last week. The full nineteen is named as; Mathers, Fox, Riley, Briscoe, Sykes, Godinet, Anderson, McShane, Lauitiiti, Kirmond, Washbrook, Ryan, Annakin, Walshaw, Moore, Siejka, Sammut, Scruton, and Raleigh. Just the seven ex-Rhinos in that squad.

In addition to last Sundays big Challenge Cup win, the Rhinos won both league matches against the Wildcats last season, although the home win was by a very close 20-18 margin. As recently as 2012 we lost the away game by 18-38 when we were totally outplayed.

Southstander.com Prediction
Rhinos 30 06 Wildcats

I can't see us running riot in the way that we did last Sunday and expect that the winning margin will be much closer. Wakefield have been poor in their last two outings, we can't rely on them underperforming for three consecutive games.

With Saints and Castleford meeting in a top-of-the-table clash, a win would give us chance to make ground on one of them. The forecast for Friday is 'mostly sunny' with very little chance of any rain. With evening temperatures still dropping it could be a little chilly as kick-off approaches, but at least the travelling fans from down the road should be able to keep dry for the duration.

Travel safe and enjoy the match...

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