The farce that is Superleague XII sees the Rhinos take on the Bulls for the second, of a scheduled four occasions, during the regular season. With the chance that the side could meet again in the Challenge Cup, and potentially twice in the Grand Final Play-Offs, then this could be the second of seven meetings between the two sides before mid-October. I'm not sure which set of supporters will be the most concerned.
Leeds are definitely without the constantly improving Jamie Peacock who suffered an injury just two minutes into last fridays game with the Catala Dragons. Danny McGuire and Ashley Gibson, both scares from last weeks match are also named in Tony Smiths twenty. Ryan Hall, star of the Academy, gets his recognition with a call into the initial squad but the only likely change to last weeks winning side will see Ali Lauiti'iti return from injury in the place of Peacock.
Steve McNamara will be watching the swansong of an Odsal favourite, and a player who has tormented the Rhinos over the years. Les Vainikolo is likely to be making his last appearance before switching codes to try his hand at Union and his replacement has already been signed in the form of Tame Tupou, recently released by Brisbane Broncos. The Bulls twenty is unchanged from their win over Warrington last week and is; McAvoy, Harris, Vainikolo, Harris, Deacon, Vagana, Newton, Lynch, McKenna, Langley, Feather, Cook, Henderson, Evans, Burgess, Platt, Kopczak, James, Halley, and Solomona.
Three Bovines to watch;
The Leeds Millennium Stadium record is not so good with our one appearance in the 2003 Challenge Cup Final resulting in a controversial loss against the Bulls. Recent form against the Bulls has been much better with Tony Smith seeming to have the 'magic' over our closest rivals. Over the last three seasons we've won eight out of ten regular round games.
Both sides are currently playing well, or at least, scraping wins whan it matters. Neck and neck on league points, the Rhinos are just twenty-two game points better off than the Bulls, sitting top of the pile.
There is some talk in the press of a public relations disaster as only twenty-five thousand tickets have been sold for each day. With supporters likely to move in and our of the ground throughout the day it is likely that most games will be watched by fewer than twenty thousand supporters. That is going to look like a very empty stadium for the SKY TV cameras. I can't see the 'on the road' being repeated again next year, at least in this format.
The bookies have given Bradford a four point start, two points more than they did at the last meeting. I'd hope that we can beat this and win in far more comfortable style, so long as we don't carry too many memories of that saturday afternoon back in 2003.
There are just a few more hours to get your predictions in in the tipping competition.
Enjoy the match and have a safe trip.