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.
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...