McDermotts rotation continues and this weeks casualty is Ben Jones-Bishop, the in-out man of Leeds Rhinos. Robbie Ward gets the recognition he deserved for a great debut last week by retaining his place in the squad and enables the side to have more shape as he fills the hooking role, releasing Clarkson and Sinfield.
We seem to be managing well despite the injuries/illness for Burrow, Jones-Buchanan and Aiton.
The full nineteen is; Hardaker, Watkins, Moon, Hall, McGuire, Leuluai, Peacock, Ablett, Sinfield, S Ward, Delaney, Bailey, Kirke, Clarkson, Achurch, Briscoe, Sutcliffe, Singleton, and R Ward. There is still something strange going on with Ryan Bailey in his testimonial season and I expect that he'll be one of the absentees from the final seventeen.
Warrington fans will be waiting with baited breath to see what this weeks half-back combination looks like, although the Wolves do look more threatening when Stefan Ratchford is in there. As well as missing Westwood, the Wire will be without Trent Waterhouse who appears to have a long-term knee injury. Leeds would rather have not seen the return of the Monaghan brothers, both of whom can be desavtating when in form.
Smiths nineteen is; Asotasi, Atkins, C Bridge, Currie, Dwyer, England, B Evans, R Evans, Harrison, Higham, Hill, Laithwaite, J Monaghan, M Monaghan, Myler, Ormsby, Ratchford, Riley, and Russell.
The two sides have met 49 times in the Superleague era with the Rhinos being victorious on thirty-two occasions with one match being drawn. Over the last two and a half seasons the Wolves have won four out of eight encounters in all competitions and the two sides shared the 2012 honours with Warrington victorious by 35-18 in the Challenge Cup Final but the Rhinos snatching their sixth Grand Final win six weeks later by 26-18.
The Rhinos won the only previous meeting in 2014 by 18-12 with Zak Hardaker picking up a brace.
The bookies don't think that there will be much in it and have given the home side a narrow two points start on the coupon. I'm hoping that the loss of Westwood and Waterhouse will mean a more comfortable trip, but I'd not rule out a narrow loss if Smith can get his side up for the game.
It should be a belter, and hopefully not too close for comfort.
The forecast is for no rain, a bit overcast and temperatures in the mid-teens for kick-off. Conditions are set for a great game of open rugby between two sides who play the exapnsive game.
Travel safe and enjoy.