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Can Leeds Stop The Rot?
Posted by southstander on August 18 2006 - 11:35:15

New Gaffer

What a difference two months can make!

When we played the Wildcats on the 23rd June at Headingley the 36-20 victory was enough to take us temporarily to the top of the Superleague table.

Since then we have won just two from seven, sunk to third spot in the league and exited the Challenge Cup in the most undignified of manners.

Will tonight see the Rhinos turn the corner? We Investigate.

The Hetherington pen must be poised above Tony Smiths P45 and a loss at Belle Vue tonight could well see the end of the Aussie coaches tenure at Headingley. Failure to secure the two points at relegation threatened Wakefield would have been unthinkable just five weeks ago but is now a plausible outcome.

Tony Smith welcomes back ex-Wildcat Willie Poching to his eighteen man squad, joining the seventeen who giftedthe two points to Wigan last friday. The full eighteen is; Donald, Walker, Senior, Burrow, Bailey, Diskin, Peacock, Lauiti'iti, Ellis, Sinfield, Millard, Poching, Jones-Buchanan, Gibson, Kirke, Tansey, Thackray, and Toopi. It's anyones guess who will miss out but I'd suspect Gibson, Tansey or Kirke will be the unlukcy one.

The Wildcats are looking like a different side under the new stewardship of John Kear. Kear, whose Hull FC side shocked us at Cardiff this time last season, has really turned his side around with significant wins over Castleford and Les Catalans. He will be looking at tonights match as a must-win ahead of a really tough run-in as the 'Cats look to avoid relegation.

Three 'Cats to watch;


Semi
Tadulala

Roonaldo
Rooney

Korki
Korkidas

If Leeds lose at the ASS tonight it will be the first time that we have lost at Wakefield in the summer era (both losses in Superleague have been at Headingley). More humiliating will be the fact that it will be the first time that we have lost six consecutive matches since Novermber/December 1958, some forty-eight years ago. That will be one statistic which the lads will be desperate to avoid.

Southstander.com Prediction
Wildcats 16 28 Rhinos

I am optimistic that we can get the victory tonight and stop the rot. To have any chance of success in the play-offs we need to start a confidence building run now as we will likely have to travel to either the KC or Knowsley Road and get a win in the final eliminator to make it three Grand Final appearances on the bounce. Bradford did it tough last season and overcame an early-season blip to pick up the major prize, what is to say that we can't do the same.

Todays forecast is really grim with constant rain throughout the day giving way to thunderstorms before kick off. Make sure that you take your brolly, preferably one of the plastic persuasion.

The bookies have given the home side a ten point start, which I think will be pretty close to the mark. It is a game we should win, but with confidence shot, and Kear planning our demise, it will probably be a nail-biter until the final minute.

Enjoy the game.

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

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