The Broncos are doing us a big favour, in exchange for a little help. Tony Rea agreed to bring his troops at the last minute, after the Bulls withdrew from the scheduled Barrie McDermott Testimonial which should have been held tonight. In return, the Rhinos are contributing half of the players to tomorrow nights London/Leeds v. Whitehaven game up in Cumbria.
London have had a massive personnel change since the end of last year. They have only retained thirteen of their disappointing 2004 squad, who struggled to third bottom in Superleague IX. They have recruited twelve new players, including Mark Tookey (from Castleford) and New Zealand international Thomas Leuluai. Tonight will see the Broncos first real pre-season run-out with their new squad members.
Tony Smith has made it clear that tonight is the main preparation game for the World Club Challence match. Last friday saw a few of the first team forwards on show, but tonight you'll be able to feast your eyes on the first choice line up from one to thirteen.
Andrew Dunemann will start the game as hooker, and it is plain that Smith is putting his hopes in the Aussie until the return of Diskin, scheduled for mid-season. McGuire and Burrow start at halves, with Sinfield completing the holy trinity. Interestingly, Ellis is named as fifth substitute, indicating that he might be on the fringe of selection for a Elland Road.
Lauiti'iti and Mathers come back from injuries which have kept them both out of the pre-season campaign so far. All the Rhinos players are either looking to cement their places, or take advantage of a team-mates slip-up to force their way into the WCC seventeen.
Three Broncos to keep an eye on;
Entry tonight is just a tenner (a fiver for concessions) and I'd estimate a crowd of between eight and ten thousand. The weather is forcast to be okay, after rain up until just before kick-off. There is no real excuse for not being there!
See you all there. Match report will be up on site sometime tonight.