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U21's Drinking in the Last Chance Saloon
Posted by southstander on March 08 2005 - 21:58:08

by Matthew Horton

The Rhinos Senior Academy, beaten Championship Grand Finalists last season, stand of the brink of not even qualifying for the top division this season as they take on the Wakefield Trinity Wildcats at the Atlantic Solutions Stadium tonight (Wednesday).

The Rhinos have been sweating on the return of key players as they look for this vital win.

Times have been a little difficult lately for the Under-21's, after throwing victory away at Warrington 12 days ago they lost out to a well drilled Halifax team at Stanningley last week. Liam Botham's form has earned him a call up for the First Grade this week as Tony Smith looks to freshen up the first team ready for the busy Easter program that is only a fortnight away.

Jason Golden has recovered from the knock that "sent him to Disneyland" last week and there will also be a return to action for Lee Smith, and Ashley Gibson who missed both defeats through injury. With Botham missing, Joe Walsh and Dave Tootill return to the run on team. Scott Murrell who made the 20 man first grade squad last weekend continues at half back. Jamie I'Anson drops to the bench as John Gallagher is moved to the hooking role. Jordan Tansey gets a start at halfback and Jason Hart and Luke Burgess come into the squad as well.

We can reveal that the Rhinos Line up will be: 1. Smith, 2. Gardner, 3. Gibson, 4. Buttery, 5. Williams, 6. Murrell, 7. Tansey, 8. Scruton, 9. Gallagher, 10. Stenchion, 11. Golden, 12. Hart, 13. Ablett, 14. Burgess, 15. Walsh, 16. I'Anson J, 17. Gordon

Last Year, Wakefield finished as runners-up to the Rhinos in the league table before losing to the Rhinos in the Major Semi-Final, before crashing out to the Bulls in the Preliminary Final. The Wildcats are more or less through to the Championship phase of the competition, after an opening week loss at St Helens (44-10) they have bounced back to defeat Leigh (38-14) and Keighley Cougars (48-6) and will be looking to make it three in a row.

The sides clashed three times last season, the Rhinos winning all three. The Rhinos were 38-26 winners at Headingley before a late John Gallagher try saw the Rhinos home at Belle Vue, a game in which Carl Ablett was sent off. The Rhinos then won the play-off encounter 30-16 at Headingley in a match which threatened to boil over at times.

The game kicks off at 7.30pm, if you have the chance to get there then please go along and give the lads a cheer. This is a very important game indeed. Admission is £3 for adults and entry can be gained into the ground via the main stand. For your refreshment needs, the "Benidorm" bar is normally open during the game.

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