Lee Smith is back in the Rhinos twenty and joins Nick Scruton and Chris Feather as additions to last weekends seventeen. I suspect that Smith will stick with the same seventeen that served him so well with a return to early season form and the comprehensive victory over Warrington Wolves. With Danny McGuire looking increasingly unlikely to make a return to the Blue & Amber jersey any time soon, the seventeen from last week may well be Smiths first choice all the way to the Grand Final, progress and injuries allowing.
Anderson is still missing Sculthorpe who after two years of suffering with injury now looks as though it may be the end of the road as his body fails to heal a persistent knee problem. The full twenty is; Wellens, Gardner, Lyon, Talau, Meli, Pryce, Long, Fozzard, Cunningham, Cayless, Gilmour, Wilkin, Sculthorpe, Roby, Bennett, Hooper, P. Anderson, V. Anderson, Graham, and Fa’asavalu. There is plenty of skill and fire-pwer there to cause us a lot of trouble but you have to wonder how easy it will be for the Saints boys to get up for the game when there is nothing to play for.
We have a good September record at Knowsley Road with wins there in Superleague IX by 25-19, and again in last years play-off by 19-16 to send get us straight through too the Grand Final. Leeds have played St. Helens on seven occasions in the Superleague era in September and have only lost once (a game at Headingley in SLIV). We have won all four meetings in September between the sides at Knowsley Road.
Saints have won both meetings between the side so far this season with a 13-4 win back in February and a closer 18-14 win in July after we have been leading at half-time.
Three Saints to watch;
It is impossible to tell which way this one will go. If the Rhinos play like they did last weekend against the Wolves, and the Saints are disinteretsted, then we have a great chance of boosting our pre-play-off confidence with a win over Superleagues dominant side. On the other hand, if we relapse into our August form then Saints could absolutley murder us.
I'm hopeful of the former of these two scenarios and I am going to go against the bookies and tip a narrow Rhinos win.
The forcast is for nice day over in merseyside. Why not get yourself over there a little bit early and take in the U18's game as they try to secure themselves second place at Saints U18's expense.
The bookies think that Saints will be showing their class and have given the Rhinos a ten point start on the coupon. I'd definitely be backing the Rhinos with that margin and possibly even backing us for the win at 7/2.
There are just a few more hours to get your predictions in in the tipping competition.
Enjoy the game.