Games don't come any bigger than this!
Leeds take their unbeaten record on the road for a visit to main challengers Bradford Bulls. After winning four out of five meetings last season the Rhinos are favourites to beat the 'old enemy', but as Nobles side starts to gell, Tony Smith will be under no illusion about the massive eighty minutes effort his team have got to put in.
Tony Smith will be relieved that McKenna and Ellis are both back in the squad after last weeks dissapointing performance at The Willows. Both are likely to figure in the seventeen, which will be without Jamie Jones-Buchanan who picked up an injury after one of the more impressive performances last week. Danny McGuire, after being named in the initial twenty, also missed out as Smith decides not to risk him. I'd expect either McDonald or Scruton to join JJB in missing out on tonights game.
Brain Nobles side will be bolstered by the news that 'Fat Les' Vainikolo has extended his current contract. He names an unchanged squad from the seventeen that narrowly defeated Hull FC last weekend. The eighteen Bulls are; Ferres, Deacon, Fielden, Harris, Langley, Lynch, Meyers, Parker, Paul, Peacock, Pratt, K. Pryce, L. Pryce, Radford, Reardon, Vagana, Vainikolo, Cook. The Bulls side has a decent blend of youth and experience, not dissimilar to ourselves. Harris and Pratt will both feel that they have something to prove, especially Harris who missed out of the glory of winning the Grand Slam with Wales last weekend.
We played the Bulls five times last season. Once at Odsal, a 26-12 win, three times at Headingley (two wins and a loss) and once at Old Trafford. The aggregate was 120-76 in favour of Leeds, with the average being 24-15. Everything points to a close game.
Three reasons to beat the Bulls;
It has forecast showers, so it might be worth taking a brolly if the stewards allow them in. The temperature will be mild at 10 to 11 degrees, but be prepared to get wet.
The bookies have given the BUlls a four point start on the coupon, and without handicapping we are odds on to win the game. I think that four points is just about right. SportingOdds.com are offering a full range of odds for tonights game with a 1-5 point margin in favour of Leeds at 5/1. How about Marcus Bai as first try scorer for 10/1 or for those more adventurous amongst you, Danny Ward at 50/1 (1/4 odds as an each way bet to be in the first four scorers!).
Check out Oldladys' Ground Guide and enjoy the game. Roll on 8pm!