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Agent Provocateurs Look Ahead to Round 7
Posted by southstander on March 22 2007 - 10:24:20

Not AP!
by Agent Provocateur

With massive critical acclaim, the most read column on SouthStander is back once again as Agent Provocateur takes a weekly look at the forthcoming Superleague Round, and in his in inimitable way to give us his tips for the week.

Small children and those of a nervous disposition, may wish to avoid clicking the link below. But for those of you who can take it, here are AP's thoughts for Round 7.

Read more here....

Here are my thoughts on this weekend's action in Super League Round 7.

HULL V WIGAN

Hull were really impressive in their victory against Saints last week despite being without Carvell and Cooke (who will also be missing this week – no surprises there), and it looks like they’ve finally got their act together this season. I suspect now is not the time to be playing them and a Hull performance just half as good as last week ought to be more than enough to account for Wigan. Sid Domic has been banned for two matches by the RFL disciplinary so will miss this game.

Wigan have won on their last two outings against Harlequins and Salford but have failed to impress anyone with their performances apart from the staunchest of one-eyed pie-eaters. However, they do have a good record at the KC Stadium and have pulled off a few shock wins against the odds there in recent seasons. I don’t think they will this time around unless a certain A. Klein puts in a similar diabolically one-sided level of performance like he did last week and favours Wigan.

SportingOdds Handicap:Hull (-6), Wigan (+6) both at 10/11

My Tip: Hull by 12


LEEDS V HARLEQUINS

I couldn't have given an airborne intercourse about the winning or losing aspect for either Leeds or Wakefield last week, so long as it was a good game. What I do object to is witnessing a potentially good game ruined by incompetent, inconsistent or pedantic officiation. Ashley Klein is regularly one or the other these days and last week managed all three in one game, though I doubt Leeds (or many of their feckwitted supporters who wanted Tony Smith sacked last week) were complaining.

Place a whistle in the mouth of this bloke and he will often blow the pea clean out of it. The penalties ran something like 6 straight to Leeds at one stage during the first half and an actual sin-binning for not clearing the ruck, an offence that will be seen on numerous occasions each round and will be lucky to result in a penalty in less than half of those occurrences. I'd stake my nuts on the sin bin not being used on any of them. Combine that with penalties awarded against Wakefield for ball stealing and a team warning issued (when Leeds committed the very same offence and weren’t warned) along with other penalties awarded against Elima for a forearm in the face of a grounded player and Watene for a facial (when Ryan Bailey commits these very same offences with relentless regularity and doesn’t get pinged) and you end up with one team (Wakefield) staggering under the weight of Klein’s whistle. He is unfit for Super League duty IMO and is a pustule on the prick of progress.

Klein’s performance was so embarrassingly one-sided in Leeds favour that even the most ardent of cycloptic Rhinos supporters felt a desperate need to obtain a DVD copy of the game, set the terms of reference for an enquiry (Translation: Spin) and then employ an unnamed refereeing source for his apologist opinion. Convincing stuff, eh? All the Rhinos feckwitts lapped it up and then had the audacity to refer to this as concrete evidence of Klein’s reasonableness, impartiality and integrity. So it appears we now have an ‘Ashley Klein Appreciation Society’ whose membership consists solely of erm... Rhinos feckwitts... well, he did do his utmost to secure a win for Leeds after all. Klein is about as neutral as a neutral ref can ever be, even in a Tri Nations Final between Australia and New Zealand... oh, hang on!

I also notice that Richard Moore has no case to answer at the RFL disciplinary hearing after allegedly committing GBH with a murderous intent with his marginally late hit on the ‘Biscuit Boned Prima Donna’ who swallow dived to the turf and played dead - that is until Moore was carded by Klein to the sin-bin. Biscuit Bones remarkable recovery within a nanosecond of Moore being sin-binned was worthy of an Oscar. A future Hollywood or Italian Serie ‘A’ Chavball career surely beckons for him? Manchester United’s Ronaldo is a mere ‘B’ movie actor in comparison.

Leeds shouldn’t require a huge leg-up from officialdom this week as they face an ordinary Harlequins side who have struggled recently and lost on their last three outings against Warrington, Wigan and Bradford. I cannot see Leeds losing this one and they need to win as the tougher games are now just around the corner. Harlequins have one of the weakest packs in Super League so even the bone-idle Leeds softcock pack might actually win a battle of the forwards for the first time this season, but don’t bet on it. They’ll probably have to wait until next week against the awesome might of the Workington pack in the Mickey Mouse Cup.

Monitoring cloud formations is considered a far more attractive prospect than Leeds V Harlequins for me this weekend.

SportingOdds Handicap: Leeds (-12), Harlequins (+12) both at 10/11

My Tip: Leeds by 16.


ST HELENS V HULL KR

I expect Saints to be chomping at the bit to make amends after their unexpected loss away at Hull last week, and Hull KR could suffer as a result this week. Saints will be back to full strength as Willie Talau returns from injury. Hull KR will be without their influential skipper James Webster and there’s still no sign of Mark O’Neill. What a cracking signing he’ll turn out to be, just like he was for Leeds. Danny Ward *hic* will assume the captaincy role for Hull KR this Friday night.

The result of this game isn’t in doubt. Saints will win and only the margin of that victory is open to doubt. I’ve gone for a conservative 32 point margin in Saints favour but the scoreline could be an embarrassing blowout with Hull KR finally getting taught a harsh lesson. Enthusiasm alone won’t save them from a good hiding this week.

Ady Gardner might fill his boots in this one - beats filling his pants I suppose. Such is the frightening lack of wing talent these days that he could end up being capped by GB one day. The prospect of that is frightening.

SportingOdds Handicap: St Helens (-26), Hull KR (+26) both at 10/11

My Tip: St Helens by 32.


BRADFORD V CATALANS

This is a tremendous opportunity for Bradford to cement their position at the top of the Super League ladder and I don’t expect them to pass up that chance either. Catalans Dragons are more than a match for most teams in the south of France but struggle to compete on the road for the full 80 minutes. I expect the Bulls to take advantage of those periods in the game when the Dragons switch off and to win comfortably in the end.

There’s an offer on for this game on Sunday where any adult ticket pre-purchased qualifies for another free adult admission ticket. A bargain!

SportingOdds Handicap: Bradford (-16), Catalans (+16) both at 10/11

My Tip: Bradford by 18


HUDDERSFIELD V SALFORD

[fx: HUGE YAWN!]

Can’t believe it’s not one of Sky’s featured games this week. The penny must have finally dropped.

Salford will be without their skipper (and best hooker in the world who should have earned at least 30 GB caps by now - no, really) Malcolm Alker who has damaged his medial ligaments and will probably be out for up to six weeks. NRL sensation for the Roosters in 2006 Mark Edmondson is also out injured.

Huddersfield ought to break their duck in this one and claim the 2 points, which should cheer up their handful of supporters who spend most of the time these days falling out with one another online.

SportingOdds Handicap: Huddersfield (-6), Salford (+6) both at 10/11

My Tip: Huddersfield by 10


WAKEFIELD V WARRINGTON

Wakefield can take some comfort from last week’s home defeat. Despite being shafted by the ref big-style, they actually played Leeds off the park with a display of the most scintillating RL that evening during the brief 20 minutes of possession they were actually allowed. Another five or ten minutes of possession and they would have overturned their 0-24 deficit comfortably.

As I’ve stated on a number of occasions already, Warrington are an absolute mare of a team to tip as they are without doubt the most unpredictable mob in Super League. They’ve lost Adrian Morley again for another lengthy spell on the sidelines as he’s managed to place his noggin in the wrong place at the wrong time yet again, though you can never fault his bravery in the collision.

With Lee Briers also still likely to be absent, Wakefield appear to be a decent bet to return to winning ways this weekend. I’ll therefore tip Warrington by a small margin because recent form guide and logic doesn’t come into the reckoning where they are concerned.

SportingOdds Handicap:Wakefield (-2), Warrington (+2) both at 10/11

My Tip: Warrington by 4.


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