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Minor Premiership within our Grasp
Posted by southstander on August 31 2007 - 08:08:24

Still a Chance

It's Superleague XII so we must be playing...the Bulls!

It is the fourth meeting between the sides so far this season, with every possibility of their being yet another in the play-offs in late-September/early-October. It is the second time this season that we've had to travel to Oldslum, but Tony Smith won't be worried, he loves it there!

The Rhinos look to continue their quest for the hubcap, while Bradford have their last 'throw of the dice' to get into the top two.

We preview the game here...

Over the last four seasons the Rhinos have won three-quarters (9/12) of regular season games against the Bulls, and a win on saturday will see us certain of at least second place in Superleague XII and two attempts at reaching Old Trafford. Tony Smith hasn't lost to the Bulls at Odsal in his time as coach with the Rhinos, a record he will want to keep intact as he heads into his last few games at the helm.

Many of the Rhinos faithful will breath a huge sigh of relief that Rob Burrow is back in the twenty man squad, but we will still be missing influential full-back Brent Webb who is serving the last game of his three match suspension. Jordan Tansey and Ben Kaye have been added to the seventeen that beat Hull KR the last time out but I'd expect both of them to miss out on the final eighteen. Matt Diskin appears to be back approaching his best after a mid-season injury rest and with Sinfield likely to move back to loose-forward we are just a full-back away from being at full strength.

McNamara will have breathed a huge sigh of relief after the disciplinary acknowledged that they had got it badly wrong by quashing Glenn Morrisons three game suspension picked up in an ill-tempered game at the Giants.

Bradford have named a twenty of; Morrison, Burgess, McKenna, Newton, Kopczak, McAvoy, Evans, Halley, B. Harris, Cook, Vagana, James, Deacon, Platt, I. Harris, St Hilaire, Solomona, Feather, Lynch and Henderson. So just the six ex-Rhinos in their squad! Iestyn Harris and Chris Feather will both be desperate for good performances but the comedy slot must surely go to Nathan McAvoy, released at the end of the season, trying to impress potential new clubs on national TV. It could all go so badly wrong for him.

Three Ex-Rhino now Bovines to watch;


Pie Eater
Harris

Comedy
McAvoy

Slugger
Newton

Two last gasp Rhinos wins so far this season were followed by that 38-14 drubbing at Headingley at the end of June. A lot has happened to both sides since then and if anything the Rhinos have got stronger while the Bulls have weakened. Bradford need to win all of their games, and hope that either the Rhinos lose one other, or that Saints lose two from three to get them above third. Defeat on sunday will see them finish third, with Hull FC having a devil of a job to catch them.

Southstander.com Prediction
Bulls 22 30 Rhinos

I have a hope and an optimism that Tony Smith will keep his unbeaten run going. The magic triangle of Sinfield, Burrow and McGuire should be too strong for the home side and with the enthusiasm of youth at full-back and on the wing, hopefully we won't leave it until the last gasp again.

The bookies have given Bradford a two point start, and that must be based on the last visit to Odsal and the Millennium Stadium result. I hope that we are a bit stonger than that.

The forecast is for cloud, with an outside chance of rain. Better to be safe than sorry on that exposed terracing.

There are just a few more hours to get your predictions in in the tipping competition as the season hots up.

Enjoy the match and roar on the lads.

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