The Rhinos have two casualties from last weeks seventeen with Nick Scruton and SouthStander.com's very own Ashley Gibson out through injury. Jamie Peacock makes a welcome return after his facial injury in pre-season, Lee Smith and Ian Kirke make up the eighteen with Kirke the most likely to miss out on the game. The Rhinos showed good form at time last week against Salford, but some sloppy play, stupid penalties and at times paper-thin defence meant we had to scramble to hold the points in the end.
Peter Sharp has bigger injury headaches than Tony Smith. Paul Cooke, Paul King and new signing Willie Manu are all sidelined for tonights clash. Missing those three stars is bound to weaken any side. That said, there is still plenty of danger in the FC side and although slight underdogs for the game they could still cause a Millennium Stadium style upset of we think that we just need to turn up. The Hull FC eighteen is; Lee, Washbrook, Tickle, G Horne, Wheeldon, Godwin, Whiting, Yeaman, R Horne, Briscoe, Dowes, Tony, Raynor, McMenemy, Maiava, Sing, Swain, Carvell.
Three Airlie Birds to watch;
Your heart out!
It is almost two years since Leeds beat Hull FC at home when we won 34-14 in June 2005. On that night Keith Senior grabbed a hat-trick, what we'd give for another of those from the Testimonial man tonight. Last season the visitors stuffed us 44-28 and that will still be in the back of the minds of the Leeds players as they take the field tonight. As will that debacle in Wales back in August 2005, when the rank outsiders ended up engraved on the Challenge Cup. In recent years there has been more sorrow than joy when we've played the Black and Whites.
I still think that the Rhinos will use a packed Headingley to their advantage tonight and take a narrow victory, but if anything, it could be closer than the margin I have predicted below. What odds Hull FC to start the season with back-to-back draws?
Hull FC have sold all of their allocation and the seating sold out earlier in the week. I'd expect that there will be getting on for 20,000 in the place for the SKY game of the week. Steve Ganson is the man in the middle, which adds a certain degree of unpredictability to proceedings. It should be a cracker played in a great atmosphere.
The forecast for tonight doesn't look good with rain for the entire game. Those who've bought tickets on the Western Terrace may have their spirits dampened somewhat. Still, at least it isn't going to be too cold.
The bookies hhave given Hull FC an eight point start, and while I've tipped the same margin in my prediction I think I'd probably still take Hull with that margin. The draw is 20/1 which looks a fair bet, although there are a few one-point candidates on the pitch. Brett Webb and Danny McGuire are equal favourites as first try scorer at 11/1, or how about an outside bet on Jamie Peacock at 33/1.
There are just a few more hours to get your predictions in in the tipping competition.