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Here We Go Again
Posted by southstander on May 16 2014 - 12:06:28

Hoping for Better
It's just a fortnight since the Rhinos were confident 28-12 winners over last seasons Champions, the Wigan Warriors, but Saturday evening sees the re-match.

The two sides will face off in the top-billing game at 19:15 at the City of Manchester Stadium and with the Rhinos as 2/5 for the win you could be forgiven for thinking that this is a Rhinos banker.

But we're not that naive, it is liklely to be a battle royal.

We preview the game, read more here...

The Rhinos have only ever lost one of their on the road, Magic Weekend, games and that was last years encounter with saturday nights opposition. It's an enviable record and one which the lads will be looking to extend.

Brian McDermott has the luxury of being able to name a side unchanged from last weekends visit to the Tigers and we've had a full nine days to recover, a day longer than the Cherry and Whites. Ben Jones-Bishop announced the inevitable this week with his departure to Salford at the end of 2014 and I expect that he'll pay for his departure, so long as Ryan Hall is fully recovered.

The nineteen is; Hardaker, Jones-Bishop, Watkins, Moon, Hall, McGuire, Leuluai, Peacock, Ablett, Sinfield, Ward, Delaney, Bailey, Kirke, Clarkson, Achurch, Briscoe, Sutcliffe, and Singleton. Knocks aside, the other likely absentee is Ryan Bailey who still seems out of favour despite being ruled off-limits for a short-term loan.

The Warriors continue to struggle from injury strife and name a nineteen from a decimated squad. Three players that figured in the match a fortnight ago, Dudson, Clubb and James, are all absent and there are an increasing number of names in the Wigan squads which are unknown to most neutrals.

Wane names his nineteen as; Austin, Bateman, Bowen, Burgess, Burke, Crosby, Farrell, Gelling, Green, Goulding, Hughes, Manfredi, McIlorum, Powell, Sarginson, Smith, Sutton, Taylor, and Williams.

This will be the forty-fourth regular round meeting between the two sides since the advent of Superleague and the Rhinos trail slightly with eighteen wins against the Warriors twenty-one, with four matches having been drawn.

The two sides met four times last season. The Rhinos won the two regular league fixtures with an 18-14 win at Headingley and a 20-6 win at the DW. In the corresponding Magic Weekend game at the City of Manchester Stadium it was the Warriors who grabbed a narrow 16-20 victory and, of course, it was the Warriors who ended the Rhinos season with a 12-22 win the Grand Final Eliminator.

Southstander.com Prediction
Rhinos 22 16 Warriors

The bookies have given the Warriors an eight point start on the coupon, double their start a fortninght ago. Once again I think that they are pretty close to the mark. It should be another belter in front of a big live and TV audience who have spent the afternoon gorging on the other rugby league treats on offer.

The forecast for Saturday is looking pretty decent with temperatures pushing twenty and very little chance of rain. Perfect weather for a a perfect game of rugby.

Travel safe, enjoy the matches and keep your fingers crossed for the win...

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