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Giant Challenge for Rhinos
Posted by southstander on June 30 2006 - 08:29:49

Big Ask

After last weekends twenty-two hour flirt with the top of the table, the Rhinos travel to the Galpharm Stadium to take on the Huddersfield Giants in a dress rehearsal of the forthcoming Challenge Cup semi-final. Whilst the end of July encounter will be in the minds of the two coaches, both will be far more interested in securing the two points in the battle for play-off standings.

The Giants will be desperate for the two points in their quest to make up a four point gap on Salford as they look to get into sixth place after another disappointing season, but showing the Rhinos that they will not be a Challenge Cup pushover will also be a priority.

The Rhinos have lost Chris Feather for six to eight weeks with a wrist fracture sustained in last fridayts win over his old club, the Wildcats. Diskin as also still sidelined, but apart from that we have a clean bill of health. The lads who did so well in representing GB on tuesday all came through that encounter unscathed.

Jamie Peacock (rested last week) and Nick Scruton (coming back from injury) both add a bit of bulk and experience to the pack and are likely to play. Tansey and Gibson are also added to Tony Smiths twenty but are both likely to miss out, as is Ablett despite doing nothing wrong in his outing last week. Ian Kirke seems to have fallen out of favour with the boss and can't even make it into the twenty despite impressing many with his early season performances.

The Giants will give a debut to on-loan Wigan star Kevin Brown, signed on a loan deal until the end of the season as Wigan scramble to clear salary cap space to accomodate Stuart Fielden. Being allowed away on loan by his home club should be motive enough for Brown to put in a good performance and he could well be a Giants danger man. Brown joins ex-Wigan team mates Aspinwall and Wild in the Giants set-up.

Sharps side has strength in depth, and the biggest pack in the league. They have beaten us on their own turf in the past, and will believe that they can cause a mini-upset again on sunday afternoon. We will need to be on our guard.

Three Giants to watch;


Paul

Big Wayne

Drew

We've gone through June unbeaten, with our opponents losing their last two matches. Embarrassing losses against Castleford (32-14) and last week against the otherwise freefalling Bulls (42-16) will have been a big dent to the Giants confidence. All losing runs must come to an end, and the Rhinos had better hope that this isn't the one where the Giants turn on the sytle that has seen them beat the Saints this year.

The previous meeting between the two sides came on the opening weekend of Superleague XI when the Rhinos narrowly won by 20-12 in a nervy encounter.

Southstander.com Prediction
Rhinos 42 16 Giants

The forecast for sunday looks like it will be cracking the flags in Huddersfield with temperatures up as high as twenty-six. Take that factor thirty with you if you are heading over to the Galpharm. It is likely to be hot and sweaty as the Giants new 'away fans' policy means that we will all be crammed in behind the goal and the hundred or so Giants fans who bother to turn up spread out in the Kilner Bank stand.

The bookies have given the home side a ten point start on the handicap coupon, but I'd expect that a fully firing Rhinos side will have little difficult overcoming that. Get yourself along, cheer on the lads, and hopefully we can keep the pressure on the Saints at the top.

There are just a few more hours to get your predictions in in the tipping competition.

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