The Rhinos welcome back Tony Smith after two weeks absence with the dodgiest of dodgy tummies. Smith will bring Danny McGuire back into the seventeen after a hard earned rest for the Wigan game, and all who support the Rhinos will hope that he sees a return to his early season form. Ablett, Gobson and Bailey also join last weeks seventeen and this week it is Nick Scruton gets a rest. It was a shock to see Ryan miss out last week and I expect that he will get a chance at the Willows, it would be nice to think that our boy Ashley Gibson would also get another opportunity to impress the boss.
Kevin Sinfield will have been gutted by coach of doomed Wigan Warriors and GB Brian Noble, not to select him for the XXXX Test later this month. Salford can expect a backlash from the skipper.
Karl Harrison has dropped a bit of a bombshell with the reported selection of James Lowes into his twenty man squad. Lowes has not played this season and is considered as a member of the coaching staff. It is a surprise that his playing registration has been kept current. I doubt he will figure in the eighteen.
Harrison has named his twenty as; Fitzpatrick, Hodgson, Moule, Dunemann, Robinson, Coley, Alker, Rutgerson, Finnigan, Sibbit, Charles, Highton, Langi, Haggerty, Littler, Myler, Brocklehurst, Clayton, Adamson, and Lowes.
The Rhinos have never been beaten by the Red Devils during the Superleague era, although both encounters this season have been very close affairs. Back in March the Rhinos were 20-12 winners and it was an even smaller winning margin of 24-18 when the Rhinos visited Salford in mid-April.
The Reds form after a sensational start to the season has taken a downturn in recent weeks, however, a good win at Wakefield last week will have re-built some confidence. If the Rhinos aren't at the top of their game, their is a chance of a shock result.
Three Devils to watch;
The inclusion of Lowes in the twenty is either a cheap publicity stunt, or speaks volumes of the lack of depth in the Reds squad. If they really are stretched that thin, then expect a decent Rhinos win. If it is simply a big bluff, which looking at the rest of the side it might be, then expect another nailbiter. Sooner or later the Rhinos record will have to go by the wayside, fingers crossed it isn't this friday.
The forecast is for fine, warm and dry. Get yourself over to the Willows and experience their warm hospitality (just remove anything that shows you are from Leeds from your car on arrival).
The bookies odds aren't out as I write this, but I'd expect an 8-12 point start for the home side. If it is within that range I think we'll overcome it, andything more and we'll struggle.
There are just a few more hours to get your predictions in in the tipping competition.
Please note that the match report will be somewhat delayed, and be courtesy of Oldham_Rhino, as I am otherwise engaged this weekend. Enjoy the game.