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Gone to the Doggies
Posted by southstander on February 04 2005 - 09:14:21

Let Battle Commence
After four years of jealously watching Saints and Bradford in the Superleague curtain raiser, tonight Rhinos fans finally get their chance to take a slice of the World Club Challenge action as their heroes go into battle against the Canterbury Bulldogs.

Tonights' Carnegie sponsored event between the champions from both hemispheres, is heading for a sellout. The Leeds public have already ensured that it will be a record breaking attendance since this annual event started in 2000.

Forget the talk of a weakened Bulldogs side, and make no mistake, the breadstealers are here to win. A back line which matches their grand final side for skill and pace will look to torment our heroes, and despite enforced changes, there is plenty of danger in the pack. They are, of course, missing a few superstars from the side that beat the Rooster in their Grand Final of 2004. Influential Andrew Ryan, Willie Mason, Ben Harris, Matt Utai and Brent Sherwin are all missing through injury.

The Bulldogs arrived last weekend and have had almost a week of mild weather to acclimatise. These players know that the hopes of a nation 'to beat the Poms' rests on their shoulders and they will be giving 100% to take the trophy back to south eastern Australia.

The Rhinos have had a few scares too, especially in regard to the fitness of Danny McGuire, Ali Lauiti'iti and Marcus Bai. We are ourselves without two influential Aussies, Dave Furner and Matt Adamson and the hugely important Matt Diskin is sidelined until mid-season. It's still a strong Rhinos side that will entertain the 35,000+ crowd tonight, with Sinfield and McGuire partnering at halves, to many peoples relief. Dunemann takes over hooking duties after trialing there in the pre-season games, and joins new signing Gareth Ellis in the only two changes to the Rhinos Grand Final side. JJB and Ali Lauiti'iti swap start and bench places.

Three Doggies to keep an eye on;


Braith
Anasta

Sonny Bill
Williams

Tony
Grimaldi

The weather is forcast to be okay, but we could get a bit of rain towards the end of the game. Temperatures are still pretty mild at seven degrees which should suit the visitors.

It is very difficult to call a game where the two sides have no track record, and where you don't know a lot of the players involved. To some extent you have to go with the bookies thoughts, and they have given the Bulldogs a generous eight point start!

I can't wait. The atmosphere should be electric, and we have a fantastic chance of getting one over on the 'convicts'. It will be a belter!

Southstander.com Prediction
Rhinos 22 18 Bulldogs

See you all there. Match report will be up on site sometime tonight.

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