The Rhinos have suffered the big blow of losing Matt Diskin with a groin injury, leaving the squad with no recognised hooker in the 20 named on Wednesday. Ashley Gibson started for England in the Federation Shield Final at hooker so he may get first chance at the role with Jordan Tansey being held on the bench as cover. Lee Smith will benefit from this be retaining his postition on the wing. Nick Scruton will miss the next 4 months after being diagnosed with a stress fracture of the foot, leaving the Rhinos down to the bare bones in the front row department. Carl Ablett and Ian Kirke made the twenty this week alongside Danny Williams and I expect it will be those three players who will not feature in the run on side on Saturday night with Gibson being the only change to the 17.
The Dragons have made a super start to the season, picking up a point at the KC against Hull before the heart breaking last minute defeat against Wigan last weekend. The Dragons are without long term injury Jamal Fakir plus the little general Stacey Jones is still a couple of weeks away from full fitness. New signings Adam Mogg, Jason Croker (the oldest man in Super League) and Casey McGuire are settling in well into life in the South of France. Throw into the mix another new singing in Clint Greenshields and last years top try scorer Justin Murphy then the Rhinos will have their work cut out to take the two points.
Three Dragons to watch;
This is the Rhinos third visit to the city of Perpignan and this time will play at the spiritual home of Rugby League in Perpignan, the Stade Gilbert Brutus. Located a little further out of town than the Aimé Giral it has been refurbished for the Dragons and currently has a capacity of around 10,000.
Although the Catalans are resurgent I think the Rhinos have enough power in the tank to sneak the two competition points and retain their unbeaten start to the season, but hold on to your hats it may well be a close run thing.
The forecast is for light drizzle during the game, but the temperatures look to be a lot better than were experienced just under 12 months ago when the Rhinos made their last visit.
The bookies have given the Dragons a ten point start, which with my prediction means you want to be really careful where you are laying your money this week as it really could be a close run thing.
There are just a few more hours to get your predictions in for the tipping competition.