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'Cats in For A Mauling?
Posted by southstander on March 16 2007 - 08:34:36

Miracle Worker

For the third time this season the Rhinos travel to play one of the sides that should, on paper, be relegation fodder.

This time it is a trip to top-of-the-table Wakefield... a phrase which I didn't think I'd ever be using.

John Kear has worked a miracle in his short time since being sacked by Hull FC and arriving at the ASS. He's lost some key players since the end of last year, but built a team with spirit and determination. This might not be the walk-in-the-park that we'd expect.

We preview the game here...

Tony Smith welcomes back Keith Senior into the eighteen to join the seventeen from last week. It will be a brave man who drops Ashley Gibson after his Man-of-the-Match performance in last weekends defeat at Hull KR, however, it won't be easy to accomodate both in the starting line-up. Once again Ian Kirke missed out on a chance, and after the performances of the likes of Leuleui and JJB last week you have to wonder what he's done to upset the head coach.

John Kear, the man with the midas touch, has left both Sculthorpe and Pryce out of his eighteen man squad but ex-Rhinos Golden and Fox are included in the whittled down side. The Wakefield side is not exactly bustling with internationals, but the lack of 'prima donas' means that the side trains to function as a team rather than a side where you hope that your superstars gell every week.

Three 'Cats to watch;


Semi

Roonaldo

March

Leeds have already played the Wildcats this season, in the boxing day friendly which we won by 22-14. The last visit to the ASS was back in August last year where we escaped from an awful performance with a 14-12 win which ended a five game losing streak. In 2005 we thrashed the Wildcats by 70-04 but they are now a very different proposition. The last loss to Wakefield was earlier in that 2005 season when they beat us 44-28 at Headingley. The Rhinos have only lost twice to Wakefield in the Superleague era, and neither of those were at Belle Vue.

We should have too much class for the league leaders. A seventeen point winning margin will be enough to lift us above our opponents and a thirty-seven point win will se us clear of Bradford before their game against Harlequins tomorrow afternoon. If Hull can do the business over Saints, or at least keep the losing margin down, then there is nothing to say that we can't be top of the pile come sunday night.

Southstander.com Prediction
Wildcats 12 42 Rhinos

It should be close to a sell-out for tonights clash, with pay-on-the-day a risky gamble. Hopefully the Rhinos fans will come close to outnumbering the home supporters in an 11,000 capacity, and that the 'barmy army' will be in good voice to cheer the boys home.

The forecast is for a reasonably pleasant evening. It will be 'mostly cloudy' but the temperature shouldn't drop below nine degrees. The conditions won't be a feasible excuse for a loss.

The bookies are giving the home side a six point start which looks fairly generous. I think that the Rhinos will beat the handicap, and hopefully by some margin. AP is a little more optimistic about the Rhinos hopes, reckoning we'll manage a twelve point winning margin. But remember, he backed us last week too!

There are just a few more hours to get your predictions in in the tipping competition.

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