It has been a week of relative stability for the Rhinos with the haemorrhage of players fleeing Headingley appearing to have been stemmed. All eyes have been on the sale of Challenge Cup Final tickets, which by all accounts are flying out of the ticket office doors.
The Rhinos lost Rob Burrow during the week after he sustained an ankle injury (rested?), and three youngsters have been drafted into the twenty man squad. Gibson, Smith and Williams have all been rewarded for steady seasons in the senior academy and while Gibson remains the favourite to get a run-out, don't be surprised if Danny Williams is on the teamsheet come 3pm on sunday.
Leigh are a club in deepest crisis. Coach Abram resigned during the week after the board failed to back him up and sack a player with whom he'd had a training field bust-up, although it might have been a case of jumping prior to being pushed. At the same time assistant coach Tommy Martyn was rumoured to have handed in a sick note. To cap it all, director of rugby Alex Murphy was admitted to hospital after suffering a mild heart attack. It couldn't really get much worse.
With a caretaker coaches Tommy Martyn and Heath Cruckshank in place, Leigh have named their twenty-man squad, which excludes the suspended Rowley, as; Cooper, Fleary, Govin, Jackson, P. Jones, Kent, Wilkes, Leafa, Maden, Marshall, Smyth, Stapleton, Sturm, Wilshere, Owen, J. Duffy, Maddox, Stevens, Mears, Coleman.
Three Leythers to watch;
Leeds have only played the Centurions twice in Superleague, in back-to-back games in May this year. Our first visit to Leigh in over ten years saw us break our record away victory against them with a 60-04 win. The Centurions gave a far better account of themselves the following week at Headingley when they held us to a narrower 42-24 win.
I can only see a big win for the Rhinos, although it will be interesting to see who does the kicking in the absence of both Sinfield and Burrow. We have to hope that whoever it is does a better job than Barrie did from in front of the sticks against Toulouse.
Sunday afternoon is forecast to be pretty reasonable, which is a bonus for us stood out on that open terrace. It can't be as cold as the friday night game in May when the wind rattled round the ground.
The game is no longer all ticket, and Rhinos fans can pay at the turnstiles. The game was re-categorised as only 400 tickets had been sold by the Rhinos. It looks like it might be a pretty poor turnout to support the champions.
Don't forget to take a look at Oldladys ground guide, and see you all there.