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Here We Go Again
Posted by Number 2 on February 01 2008 - 11:15:51

First Game

All aboard the Super League Express

The Rhinos begin the defence of their title claimed at Old Trafford last October as engage Super League XIII begins with Bluey's first meaningful fixture at Headingley Carnegie Stadium tomorrow night.

A Hull KR side that has recruited heavily in the off season provide the opposition in front of the SKY cameras.

We preview the game here...

The Rhinos come into this game on the back of their training camp in Florida and victory over the Rabbitohs. The Rhinos arrived back in Leeds on Monday night and one can only wonder if this short turn around may affect them in some way. Ryan Bailey is fit after missing the Florida trip with a groin injury. A fit again Nick Scruton, Ryan Hall and Jordan Tansey have been added to the 17 on duty from the Grand Final but coach McClennan will probably go with the 17 that returned the Super League trophy to Headingley.

Where the players turnaround at Leeds has been non existant there has been huge turnaround at Craven Park, no fewer than 15 players have departed during the off season but there have been some impressive signings. The big names being ex-Rhinos Chev Walker and Clint Newton from Melbourne Storm. Garret Crossman has also arrived from the Storm, with Jake Webster, Ben Galea and Daniel Fitzhenry also arriving from the NRL. Ex-Rhino Peter Fox joins from Wakefield and David Mills returns up north after a stint in the capital. Last but not least, Shaun Briscoe has made the move across the city after being frozen out by Peter Sharp at the KC Stadium. Rovers have only had one trial game, a 22-10 victory over Castleford last weekend. The loss of the friendly at Oldham a big dent in Justin Morgan's plans. With all this player movement, plus the loss of Paul Cooke to suspension, the question is if Rovers can hit the ground running.

Three Ex-Rhinos to watch;




The teams met three times last season, Rovers winning 22-20 at Craven Park in Round 5 but Leeds returned in May to win 18-10. The Rhinos then went on to win the final meeting at Headingley Carnegie 34-18 after a titanic battle. Prediction
Rhinos 38 14 Rovers

I just feel the continuity factor will hold Leeds in good stead tomorrow night, how many other teams have played their Grand Final team in the first game the season after? Hull KR will probably be about 6 weeks away from hitting any kind of form and their lack of pre-season action may also affect their match fitness.

The bookies have given Hull KR a 14 point start on the coupon but with the minimum price of 10/1 for first try scorer it might be worth having a look there for the value.

The forecast is for a freezing night at Headingley Carnegie with temperatures just above freezing but actually colder than that due to the wind chill. This is what summer rugby was invented for.

The newly named Reserve Grade take on Hull KR in a friendly as a curtain raiser with a 3.45pm kick off.

Don't forget the game is all ticket, up to yesterday over 19,000 had been sold and a big contingent is expected to be coming down the M62 from Hull.

Hold on tight, the rocky road to Old Trafford begins here.



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