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A Devil of a Job
Posted by southstander on April 21 2014 - 10:24:21

BJB Back
There is an outside chance that the Rhinos could exit the Easter weekend in top spot, providing we get a win over the Salford Red Devils and that Widnes find some of their early season form and beat a St Helens side still smarting from their Good Friday loss to the Warriors.

Rumour has it that the Devils, under the control of ex-Rhinos idol Iestyn Harris, will rest half their squad for a game which they simply can't win. Harris has chosen to target the Challenge Cup game against Widnes next weekend and must have supremo Koukash's permission to do so. We're not sure that people actually breathe at Salford unless Marwan says they can.

Leeds will rest players, but only as part of the normal rotation, so it should be a simple win against the side who have only beaten us once in the Superleague era.

We preview the game, read more here...

It's great to see Ben Jones-Bishop back named in the seventeen after suffering what looked like a bad injury against Wakefield ten days ago. Jamie Peacock is also back after taking a rest for the visit to Bradford Bulls, but the Rhinos are without Stevie Ward who sustained an ankle injury within seconds of entering the field on Thursday evening.

Bailey and Delaney are also in contention for places in a nineteen named as; Hardaker, Jones-Bishop, Watkins, Moon, Hall, McGuire, Burrow, Leuluai, Peacock, Ablett, Sinfield, Delaney, Bailey, Kirke, Clarkson, Achurch, Briscoe, Sutcliffe, and Singleton. I suspect that Big Mac will stick with his recent track record of resting stars and it could be the turn of Leuluai and Watkins. That said, we're still looking pretty strong.

The new Devils supremo Harris may already have been on the receiving end of a 'pep-talk' from the good Doctor after the loss to the Giants in his first game at the helm and will be expecting a second as a result of his team selection for this afternoons game.

Hansen, Puletua and Gleeson are not selected and there are strong rumours that Morley and Hock may also be missing from the final seventeen, despite being named in the squad for the trip. Harris is likely to play Platt and Rapira and Williams will take the places of Johnson and McPherson, both of whom picked up injuries on evening.

The Devils ninteen is; Ashurst, Chase, Fages, Griffin, Hock, Howarth, Lee, Meli, Morley, Mullaney, Platt ,Rapira ,Sa'u, Smith, Tasi, Tomkins, A Walne, J Walne, and Williams.

The only time that the Devils (then Reds) beat the Rhinos was back in 2009, just over five years ago, when they came to Headingley and sprung a surprise 20-30 win. In the thirty-one other Superleague regular round games between the sides, the Rhinos have won on every occasion including 42-14 home and 42-16 away wins last season. Prediction
Rhinos 30 06 Bulls

The Rhinos will be looking to maintain their awesome defensive record, conceding an average of 8.66 points per game, and should run in as easy winners. Harris will no doubt have a few tricks up his sleeve but with limited resources and low expectation he'll probably be pleased for his side to keep within the twenty-two handicap that the bookies have allocated. It could be a Rhinos points-fest, but we need to make sure that we keep our foot on the gas pedal for the full eighty, not take a thirty minute nap like we did at Odsal.

The forecast is for it to be overcast with a low chance of rain. Worth wrapping up, unlike the clown in front of me on Thursday night in shirt sleeves who spent the second half begging people to lend him a coat. Am I just getting old?

Travel safe and enjoy the match...



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