Is the 'tinker man' cured?
For the third game running Tony Smith names an unchanged Rhinos seventeen. The side who lifted the World Club Championship and scraped the narrow win against the Airlie Birds last week will take to the field to take on a new look Saints.
After last seasons injuries, and suspensions, the visitors are back at close to full strength. The vast experience of Sculthorpe, Long, Wellens and Cunningham is bolstered by new blood from Aussie 'Pig Man' Jamie Lyon and Bradford reject Paul Anderson. Millward will miss the services of Hooper and Mason, both of whom are ruled out through injury. Despite showing up well in pre-season, new Saints signing Johnny Vegas has disappointingly failed to make the seventeen.
While the Rhinos were struggling to a narrow four point win at the KC Stadium last week, the Saints were winning by a comfortable 40-18 against early relegation candidates Widnes Vikings. At this early point in the season it is difficult to read anything into these results, by the end of tonight we'll know more about how these two sides are likely to fare.
The Rhinos played the Saints four times last year, with honours being shared at two wins apiece. This doesn't, however, tell the full story. The first two games (both at Knowsley Road) went the way of Saints with the first signalling the Rhinos exit from the Challenge Cup, and the second being a 56-10 drubbing.
Game three was at Headingley with the Rhinos putting in a near perfect performance and humiliating Millwards men by 70-0. In the final game at Knowsley Road, the Rhinos beat the 'hoodoo' with a 25-19 win.
Three Scousers to keep an eye on;
The rain should stay away, so those locked out of a sold out South Stand shouldn't get too much of a battering from the elements. The game is approaching a sell out - so if you haven't got your ticket yet, you might be confined to watching the game on SKY.
After a stern test last week at Hull, they don't come much tougher than this. It is not an easy game to call. The Rhinos have looked very dodgy in the last twenty minutes in the last two games we've played, and if we've not got a big enough lead going into the last quarter, we might be in a bit of bother.
The bookies are giving Saints a ten point start, which I think is incredibly generous. Last weeks first try scorer Marcus Bai is 10/1 with the bookies to repeat the feat, or how about Dunneman or Sinfield at an incredible 25/1?
I'm looking forward to a great match, played in decent conditions, to a packed house. Tonight is what justifies the Super in Superleague, see you all there.