Tony Smith has reinstated Sinfield and Ellis after resting them for last weeks debacle at Castleford. Jordan Tansey is also added to the twenty man squad and these three join the seventeen who missed out by a solitary drop goal last week. From that twenty I'd expect Tansey, Gibson and either Scruton or Bailey to be the ones who will miss out. Confidence will be at a low ebb, but determination should be sky high to prove that we have got some fight left in us, and that we can lift ourselves for the big games.
Saints coach Anderson is without Paul Sculthorpe, who must be thinking that his career is going to be forshortened by injury. He does welcome back Long and Meli who have both missed recent games with injury, but he does rely on a couple of youngsters to complete his twenty-man squad; Wellen, Gardner, Lyon, Talau, Meli, Pryce, Long, Fozzard, Cunningham, Cayless, Gilmour, Wilkin, Roby, Hooper, P. Anderson, V. Anderson, Graham, Hardman, Fa'asavalu, and Smith. It may be that neither Long nor Meli are ready for a return and will drop out of the seventeen. Time will tell.
Three Saints to watch;
Saturdays fixture could well be a dress rehearsal for the Challenge Cup Final providing that the Rhinos and the Saints get through their semi-finals next weekend. A Rhinos victory will give us the confidence to kick-on and take up the challenge of the Giants at Odsal next weekend. We've played the Saints just once so far this season with a 4-13 defeat on a bitterly cold night last February. After saturdays game we will have to play them once more in Superleague (our penultimate game) and possibly in the Challenge Cup Final, Superleague Play-offs and if we are really lucky, the Grand Final. You may well be sick of the sight of the red vee by the end of the season.
The last time that we played Saints at home was in February 2005 when we were comfortable 30-18 winners despite being all tied up at 18-18 at half time.
I don't have a good feeling about this encounter and feel that Saints are currently in more control of their game than the Rhinos. When I've backed against us in the past we've come through with the goods, so hopefully the guys will prove me wrong again this season.
You lot are a lot more confident though. From the guesses in the prediction league some 65% of you think that it will be a Rhinos win, and the average winning margin that you have predicted is eight points. I truly hope that you are right.
It should be a full-house for the game, with the main stand and south stand having already sold out. The bookies have made us slight favourites with a -2 start on the handicap, but I'm surprised that they have not called it even. Danny McGuire is favourite to score the first try at 10/1, but I think that my money would be on the sensational Rob Burrow at 14/1.
There could be some scattered thunderstorms around and if one of those hits then I'll be glad of my place in the South Stand. It will still be warm, but not as stifling as recent days which should give the players some respite.
There are just a few more hours to get your predictions in in the tipping competition.