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A Tale of Two Cities
Posted by southstander on April 17 2014 - 08:02:22

400 for Leeds
Whilst the two cities share a boundary and an airport, in rugby league terms they seemingly have very little in common.

The Rhinos are sat in confident second spot, financially stable and well run, and with a settled squad. The Bulls have spent the last three years stumbling from one financial disaster to the next, hemorrhaging players and staff, and are now languishing at the bottom Superleague on minus points pinning their only hopes of top-flight survival on an appeal.

There can only possibly be one winner of tonights encounter at Odsal...or can there.

We preview the game, read more here...

This is the game that even SKY don't want to show. Originally scheduled as the televised game for Friday afternoon, it was dropped in favour of the more competitive Wolves v. Vikings fixture, prompting Bradford to switch the game to Thursday night.

After last weeks celebration of Jamie Peacock's 500th career appearance, tonight sees Rob Burrows 400th Rhinos performance, a miracle to many of us who saw his debut and questioned whether he had the stature to survive, let alone prosper, at the highest level in the game. How delighted we all are to have been proved wrong by a great servant to the club.

Brian McDermott welcomes back Brett Delaney and Zak Hardaker, both of whom are fresh from a weeks rest. Jamie Peacock (rested) and Ben Jones-Bishop (injured) make way and if selected Liam Sutcliffe will take on the side where he has just spent a months loan.

The full nineteen is; Hardaker, Watkins, Moon, Hall, McGuire, Burrow, Leuluai, Ablett, Sinfield, Ward, Delaney, Bailey, Kirke, Clarkson, Achurch, Briscoe, Sutcliffe, Singleton and Minchella.

Embattled Bulls coach, and past Rhinos favourite, Francis Cummins deserves a sainthood for the stress and strife that he has been forced to tolerate since joining the Bulls as coach.

His problems have been compounded this week by the loss of Anthony Mullally who has returned to the Giants after a loan period. He's recalled Danny Bridge to his side as cover and also includes Addy and Olbison after they missed the loss to the Red Devils last weekend.

His side has been decimated by the loss of key players as they walked from Odsal as 'free agents' during the last change of ownership and he names his nineteen as; Donaldson, Henry, Olbison, Purtell, Gale, Kear, Fakir, Walker, Sidlow, Ferguson, Foster, Blythe, Diskin, Manuokafoa, Addy, Gaskell, Bridge, Kearney, and O'Brien.

This will be the fifty-second regular round Superleague meeting between the two sides with honours currently even at twenty-four wins each with three drawn games. The Rhinos won the game at Bradford by 42-22 last May while the eary season game at Headingley saw honours shared at 18-18. The last win for the Bulls was over two years ago in April 2012 when they upset the odds to take a 4-12 victory on an emotion-charged night at Odsal. Prediction
Rhinos 24 08 Bulls

This should be an easy win for the Rhinos but over eighteen years of Superleague we've become conditioned to losing to the Bulls when we expect to win. The bookies are giving the home side an eighteen point start on the coupon and I don't think that's too far off the mark, I've gone for a sixteen point Leeds win.

The forecast is looking a bit bleak with showers this afternoon, possibly spreading into this evening. Temperatures will drop to just above freezing overnight, so it will be a night to put on the overcoat and take an umbrella.

Travel safe and enjoy the match...



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