Brian McDermott adds Stevie Ward and Ben Jones-Bishop to the seventeen men who ran out as convincing winners against Wigan Warriors last Friday night. Ward must be close to a return from the injury that he picked up at Bradford and Jones-Bishop will be itching for his turn in the back line. I'd expect that Stevie is the most likely to figure as Big Mac sticks with what he considers his strongest back combination.
Leeds are trying to find some stability in the 'holy trinity' after naming Ablett in the halves last week. I'd expect that Sinfield will again be named as hooker and would like to see Sutcliffe start as partner to McGuire, meriting the opportunity after a great spell against Wigan.
The nineteen man squad is named as; Hardaker, Jones-Bishop, Watkins, Moon, Hall, McGuire, Leuluai, Peacock, Ablett, Sinfield, Ward, Delaney, Bailey, Kirke, Clarkson, Achurch, Briscoe, Sutcliffe, and Singleton.
Daryl Powell knows the Rhinos better than any other man not currently at the club. As player, coach and then coach of Leeds Carnegie he knows what makes the Rhinos tick and will try and use that to best effect tonight.
After a stunning start to the season the Tigers suffered a setback last week as they lost by a single point to the Huddersfield Giants and his team will desperately want to avoid slipping five points behind the league leaders. Ex-Rhinos Jordan Tansey and Ash Gibson are both back in contention for the home side and replace the impressive Owen and Clare in the named squad. Liam Finn is also likely to make a return after sitting out last weeks defeat.
Powell names his ninteen as; Tansey, Dixon, Shenton, Webster, Carney, Sneyd, Lynch, Milner, Huby, Millington, Hauraki, Clark, Holmes, Mariano, Wheeldon, Ellis, Gibson, Channing, and Finn.
The Tigers have won two out of the last four regular season meetings between the two sides at Wheldon Road including last seasons 12-14 defeat. Since the advent of Superleague the Rhinos are on top with twenty-six wins in the thirty-eight meetings. Castleford have won on ten occasions and there is every chance that tonights game could add to two draws that were fought out in Superleagues II and IV.
Last seasons Round 2 loss was rectified with a big 40-24 win in the return game at Headingley in June and we also won the Challenge Cup 4th round game in April by 28-12. The Rhinos last win at Wheldon Road was in March 2012 when a Ryan Hall hat-trick eased us to a 36-14 win.
Games don't get much harder to call than this one. A draw wouldn't surprise me, and neither would a home win, but I think that we've just got the edge after last weeks big win over the Champions. We are unbeaten in six and full of confidence but battling with players in unfamiliar positions, the only chink in out armour. Castleford have been given an eight point start on the coupon, which is a bit disrespectful.
From the forecast it looks like it is going to be a dreadful day with rain all the way up until kick-off, which then clears away for the warmest temperatures of the day between 8pm and 10pm. So a slippy surface and slippy ball but a chance of not getting too wet stood in the away end.
Travel safe, enjoy the match and cheer the lads to a win...