Tony Smith has lost Ali Lauiti'iti for a month or so after he picked up an injury in tuesdays defeat to the Warriors. Williams has been added to the twenty named for that game in the place of the big fella. There are several players who should be saying their prayers that Smith sticks with them as their form in the last few games screams at him that he should have a major re-shuffle. There are two clear ways of looking at the Toopi and Leuleui situations; either you give them a chance to re-build their confidence in a game that we should cruise; or you drop them and send a clear message that their performances have been unacceptable. I don't know which is right but I'd err on the side of the latter.
Paul Cullen must have looked on in disbelief as his key players have fallen like flies. Missing on sunday will be; Johnson, Bridge, Leikvoll, Morley, Parker, Wood, Sullivan and Grix. These are not squad players, these are amongst the first names down on the teamsheet every week. Cullens named twenty is; Reardon, Fa'afili, Martin Gleeson, Grose, Briers, Clarke, Rauhihi, Westwood, Anderson, Mark Gleeson, Barnett, Pickergill, Bracek, Harrison, Wainwright, Riley, Cooper, Penny, Blythe, and Jerram.
Three Wolves to watch;
The last fixture between these two clubs is one which I sure you will have been trying to purge from your memory. In the opening play-off game last year the Wolves overcame the odds and left Headingley with an 18-17 victory, one of the worst days for Rhinos supporters. It was all the more surprising as just three weeks before we'd murdered the Wolves by 54-16. The Halliwell-Jones isn't a happy hunting ground for us. We lost there last time out, by 44-16 and in 2005 we won one and lost one. Warrington do seem to be a side who can surprise us on occasions, fingers crossed that sunday isn't one of them.
As we said in the introduction, if we can't win on Sunday the we are in serious trouble. Warringtons injury list leads me to suggest that we'll win comfortably, but don't be surprised if we make harder work of it than we should.
Sundays forecast is for a few showers in the morning but picking up in the afternoon with decent temperatures up to twenty-one degrees. What reason not to have a nice sunday jaunt across the Pennines (beware the speed cameras on the way into Warrington and don't park at Tesco - you'll get clamped).
The bookies haven't put the odds up yet but expect us to be handicapped by 12 to 16 points.
See you over there, drive safe.
The Senior Academy are also in action when they take on the same opposition at Wilderspool. This game kicks off at 11.30am