Tony Smith has named an unchanged twenty with Kirke, Ablett and Gibson joining the seventeen who narrowly escaped with the points last sunday. Providing that no-one has picked up a training injury I'd expect that it will be these three that miss out on the final seventeen that will go into battle at Craven Park. Diskin, Bailey and McGuire all acquitted themselves well last week, despite being touch-and-go right up to kick-off.
Future Rhinos Coach (?) Justin Morgan has proved that his side are not in Superleague to make up the numbers. He's recruited well and have built a side packed with top flight experience and with the grit and determination to grind out wins and survive the drop. There are likely to be five ex-Rhinos is the Robins ranks, although Danny Ward is struggling with a niggle and may miss out. Netherton, Murrell, Morton and Gallagher are all products of the Rhinos Academy and were all borderline first team before deciding to ply their trade elsewhere. That is five players who are all looking to show the Rhinos what they are missing.
When you consider that KR also have the likes of Stanley Gene, Chris Chester and Jim Gannon, it starts to become apparent why they have picked up three wins out of four games.
Three Ex-Rhinos to watch;
Finding fixtures against Hull KR takes some poring over the statistics books. The last time we faced KR was in the Challenge Cup (5th Round) in February 2002 when we stormed to a 44-4 home win. In their last season in the top flight, during the 1992-3 winter season, Leeds notched up two victories. In September 1992 we won 34-6 at home with tries from Dixon, Tait, Innes, Fallon, Fawcett and Schofield while in the return fixture at Craven Park in February 1993 we managed a narrow 18-16 win with tries from Iro, Stephens, and Dixon.
Hull KR were a yo-yo team in the late eighties and early nineties and Leeds didn't help their cause by beating them in every game played in the 91-92, 90-91 and 88-89 seasons. The last time that Leeds lost to the Robins was on the 22nd February 1987, over twenty years ago, when we travelled to Humberside and were on the wrong side of a 10-6 scoreline.
KR have beaten Wakefield, Huddersfield and Wigan so far this season with their only loss coming at home against the Harlequins. They have a points difference of -6 leaving them in fourth place of the four sides tied for top of the league. The Rhinos, with a points difference of +14 are second, so saturday night sees second versus fourth - a good decision by the SKY fixture selectors.
This is a big potential banana skin for the Rhinos but after humiliating the Warriors last week, Tony Smith will not have allowed any complacency to creep into the Rhinos camp. It looks like the game is heading for a sell-out so there should be an excellent atmosphere for this top of the table clash.
The forecast is for a reasonably pleasant evening. There is, however, some road shenanigans going on so you might be better preparing an alternative route.
The bookies are giving the home side a ten point start which looks fairly cautious. I think that the Rhinos will beat the handicap, but only just. AP is a little more optimistic about the Rhinos hopes, reckoning we'll romp to an eighteen point win. But remember, he backed Wigan to beat them last week too!
There are just a few more hours to get your predictions in in the tipping competition.