This is the mouthwatering tie of round eleven, the one that everyone wants to see, and the one that will entertain the nation in SKY's most popular Superleague slot on an early saturday evening. Kick off has been put back to 6:15 so that Stevo and Eddie Hemmings can give the game more of a build up, and come kick-off the assembled crowd will be at fever pitch. Lets just hope that the game lives up to the hype.
Tony Smith surprised the RL world when he named Ali Lauiti'iti back in the twenty afer just one week off, after originally announcing he was likely to miss a month. Danny Williams is the one that makes way in the squad for the big man. I'd expect the Leeds seventeen to be the same as the one that so clinically despatched the Wolves last week, but if the boss does decide to make a change it is likely to be Lauiti'iti into the seventeen in the place of Lee Smith.
Daniel Andersons side got off to a spluttering Superleague XII start but are now sitting top of the pile thanks to a very positive points difference. He's been missing a few players throughout the early season but is now back to close on full strength with all his key playmakers; Sculthorpe, Wellens, Cunningham, Long and Pryce in his twenty-man squad. This is a side where the established players are edging towards the end of their careers, but they are still devastating when the mood takes them.
Three Skints to watch;
This is the side that the Rhinos are likely to have to beat on four occasions this season to lift the silverware that we all crave. Saturday night would be a great place to start with a confidence boosting win.
The last time that the Saints visited was back in July last year when we gave up a two point half time lead to lose 18-14. We also lost twice at Knowsley Road last season, by big margins and you have to go back six games to the last time we beat them, over two years ago, when we won 30-18 in a February game at Headingley.
History doesn't bode well.
I'm tipping us to lose this one. I just don't think we've shown any great form so far this season and we've been lucky in a number of our wins. Having said that, we've held in there and share the top spot with Saints and the Bulls. This is the kind of game where the lads could surprise us all and give the visitors a good beating. Lets hope that the Saints have relapsed into the form that saw them lose to Hull FC, the Wildcats and the Harlequins, rather than the scintilating performances that they have shown in recent weeks.
The forecast for tomorrow is warm but overcast. There is a very small chance of rain but nothing to be too worried about.
The bookies are giving us a four point start on the coupon which I don't think will be enough. I am, however, more than happy to be wrong. Scott Donald is still 12/1 as first try scorer with Keith and Ashley Gibson at 16's. If you are suspecting a repeat ofthe 2004 result, then you can get Leeds to win by more than 50 points at 100/1!
Enjoy the game, and keep everything crossed for the surprise Rhinos performance.
Also the Senior Academy are in action after their 70-20 win at Warrington last weekend. The Kick off time for this game hasn't been changed and will still begin at 3.45pm. If you are in the ground early, don't forget to cheer the lads on.