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The Lull Before the Play-Off Storm
Posted by southstander on September 15 2006 - 11:02:20

Season Finale

I find myself unsurprisingly disinterested in tonights match, so disinterested that it has been difficult to get motivated to prepare the preview.

This is the 'nothing game' to end all 'nothing games'. Leeds can do nothing other than finish third, and Les Catalans have nothing to fear from finishing bottom (as they probably will) due to their immunity from relegation.

Despite it being mathematically possible for the Catalans to climb above Wakefield, due to a massive negative points difference they need the Wildcats to lose heavily while giving us an absolute hammering at Headingley. Both highly unlikely.

We preview the game here...

After six games lay-off through a shin-splints injury it looks increasingly likely that Danny McGuire may start the game at stand-off in his quest to get the tries he needs to be this seasons leading try scorer. Ashley Gibson is ruled out after suffering from a virus all week and Danny Williams gets a long overdue recall to start on the wing. Chev Walker is also missing, replaced by McGuire, and it looks like Nick Scruton may once again be the man to miss out.

The Catalans side, who will be substantially remoddled after tonights game, consist of; Beattie, Berthezene, Bosc, Casty, Chan, Fakir, Fellous, Frayssinous, Griffi, Guisset, Hindmarsh, Jampy, Jones, Khattabi, Mounis, Murphy, Sadaoui, Touxagas, Verges, and Zitter. Coach Mick POtter has left out Julien Rinaldi after he announced his decision to quit the French side and join the Harlequins next season. Justin Murphy, the current leading Superleague try scorer gets a chance to beat Danny to the crown.

This is the second game of the season against Les Catalans and follows the 58-10 hammering that we gave them over in Perpignan last March, after running in an 18-0 lead with the first half just seven minutes old. Beaten by Huddersfield and Hull in the last two rounds, the Dragons did get a notable win over a very youthful Saints side in the week before the Challenge Cup Final. They have managed to ship in an average of 36 points a game, indicating that it could be a Rhinos try feast this evening.

Three Dragons to watch;


Fakir

Berthezene

Jones

There can only be one winner tonight and the bookies have given the visitors a twenty-six point start on the handicap coupon. I think that the margin is about right but would home that beat it with Danny getting the tries he needs. Most eyes will, of course, be on the major tussle at the ASS as the Wildcats and Tigers fight it out for Superleague survival. The bookies are currently giving Castleford a six point start in that one.

Southstander.com Prediction
Rhinos 42 16 Dragons

The forecast is for the rain to stay away after a dry afternoon. Temperatures are going to stay in the mid-teens for the duration of the game so it looks like being a very pleasant evening climate wise.

Enjoy the game, the lull before the play-off storm.

Just a few hours for you to get your predictions into the competition.

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