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Time to Slay Dragons
Posted by southstander on September 19 2014 - 07:37:35

Sentence Served
Catalans Dragons have never won at Headingley and despite their excellent recent form they will not be looking forward to their flight north knowing that a loss will signify the end of their season.

The Rhinos have the Challenge Cup safely locked up in the trophy cabinet and the vibes coming out of the team are that they now desperately want to add our trophy and complete the double.

One of these sides will be playing their last eighty minutes on Saturday afternoon and the bookies think that, odds on, it will be the Dragons.

We preview the game, read more here...

The Rhinos are on the back of a five game losing Superleage streak, their worst since Dean Lance was in charge at the start of the 2000 season and we haven't lost six consecutive league games in the modern era.

Joel Moon has completed his two match suspension and is back in the side in place of Jimmy Keinhorst. McGuire and Burrow came through last weeks run-out in the, best forgotten, match at Hull and with the exception of Kirke and Clarkson the boss has his strongest possible squad to choose from.

Big Mac will have spent the whole week telling the players to put the losing run out of their minds and concentrate on recapturing some of the early season form which saw us almost impenetrable in defence and devastating in attack.

Although we finished sixth, lapses of concentration against all the bottom four sides actually cost us a comfortable top spot. We tend to play better against better opposition, this should be where we re-discover our 2014 Superleague season.

McDermott names a nineteen of; Hardaker, Watkins, Moon, Hall, McGuire, Burrow, Leuluai, Aiton, Peacock, Jones-Buchanan, Ablett, Sinfield, S Ward, Delaney, Bailey, Achurch, Briscoe, Sutcliffe, and Singleton. Achurch and Ward are the likely water carriers.

Headingley is not a happy hunting ground for the Dragons, but they did get within one point of us when the two sides met at the end of June when the Rhinos triumphed by the narrowest of margins in a 32-31 win.

Over the last three rounds, the Dragons have proved that they are a side to be reckoned with, sweeping aside the great pretenders in Castleford last weekend and denying them the league leaders shield.

Brian McDermott and the lads won't be underestimating the Dragons and they have plenty of players who we'll need to keep quiet, expecially Superleague 2014's second top try scorer Morgan Escare. Laurent Frayssinous has a well established and drilled side and interchanges his squad members well on a game by game basis. All the big guns will be available tomorrow night including the excellent Sam Williams at half-back.

The French name their nineteen as; Escare, Pomeroy, Oldfield, Bosc, Elima, Henderson, Lima, Taia, Anderson, Mounis, Maria, Pelissier, Whitehead, Millard, Bousquet, Baitieri, Duport, Garcia, and Williams.

The Rhinos won both fixtures between the sides in 2014 including the early season encounter in the South of France by 40-12, although the Headingley return was far closer. The Dragons have won just four meetings between the sides with the last being the 34-38 win in Perpignan in 2012.

Southstander.com Prediction
Rhinos 23 16 Dragons

The bookies have made the Rhinos 2/5 for the game and you can get 2/1 on the Dragons. They only see one winner, the likely prize a visit to the John Smith's Stadium to take on the Giants next Friday evening (depending on a Saints win tonight). The late Saturday afternoon kick-off is more familiar to the Dragons, lets hope that the Leeds lads can pretend it is eight in the evening on a Friday, but earlier in the season.

The forecast for tomorrow afternoon is for it to be overcast with temperatures feeling pretty autumnal.

It should be a Rhinos win and I hope that we can do a demolition job on the Dragons in the same way that the Warriors did last night, but I fear that it will be pretty close. Fingers crossed we can make it through.

Enjoy the game.

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