Once again it is a young looking Leeds Rhinos side who welcome our once-great neighbours to HQ. Robbie Ward and possible debutant Ash Handley are both called into a seventeen which sees Hall and Watkins rested rested and Peacock, Moon and Ablett all out through injuries sustained in the win over Salford last Friday evening. Sinfield is also missing due to suspension, but will be back next Saturday for the Challenge Cup semi-final.
McDermott is taking an educated gamble as he pushes for top spot, but he's balancing keeping a fully fit squad for the semi-final and then on to the play-offs, with a desire to pick up the two points.
His nineteen is; Hardaker, Jones-Bishop, McGuire, Burrow, Leuluai, Aiton, Jones-Buchanan, S Ward, Delaney, Bailey, Kirke, Achurch, T Briscoe, Sutcliffe, Singleton, Minchella, Walters, R Ward, and Handley.
Ex-Rhinos player and assistant coach Jimmy Lowes welcomes back Dale Ferguson to his side after injury and names a squad which should really have done much better this season than they have achieved.
His nineteen is; Blythe, Pitts, Olbison, Kear, Gale, Williams, Donaldson, O'Brien, Mellor, Henry, Baldwinson, Arundel, Ferguson, Conroy, Addy, Gaskell, Sidlow, Manuokafoa, and Fakir.
This will be the fifty-third regular round Superleague meeting between the two sides (and the last for a season, unless the Rhinos finish the first part of 2015 in the bottom four) with the Rhinos having taken a 25-24 lead with the 46-6 win at Odsal back in April. The Rhinos also won the game at Bradford by 42-22 last May while the eary season game at Headingley saw honours shared at 18-18. The last win for the Bulls was over two years ago in April 2012 when they upset the odds to take a 4-12 victory on an emotion-charged night at Odsal. The Bulls last win at Headingley was by 12-18 way back in June 2011.
This should be an easy win for the Rhinos but the Bulls shock win over the Warriors last week will have filled coaches and fans minds with doubt. By all accounts a strong Warriors side was outplayed by an enthusiatic Bulls, players no doubt raising their game to try and get a Superleague contract in 2015. It could all go horribly wrong, but I doubt it.
The bookies have given the visitors an eighteen point start on the coupon and I'd hope that we can achieve that as a minimum.
The summer seems to be over and the forecast for tomorrow is looking a bit bleak with showers but temperatures in the late teens. Take an umbrella.
Travel safe and enjoy the match...