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Will the 'Cats be up to Scratch?
Posted by southstander on February 15 2008 - 08:46:06

Master Tactician

You can always trust John Kear to raise his side for a one-off game, and in the past this has, on occasions, this has been against the Rhinos.

Wakefield proved last week with their narrow victory over the Bradford Bulls that they have a side that can run with the best in the game, but can they do it consistently, week after week?

The Champions hit Belle Vue tonight hoping to bring the Wildcats fans crashing right back down to earth.

We preview the game here...

There will have been more than just Jane Sinfield breathing a hugh sigh of relief when baby Sinfield number two, Sam, came into the world on Tuesday. Kev knew that the tuesday birth gave him just enough time with his new born before he returned to work, and Brian McClennan will have been relieved that he could count on his skipper to lead out the side at Belle Vue. Kev and Jane, better planning for number three please!

Ryan Hall has paid the price for weak defence at the Galpharm last weekend and despite two tries in that game he has been replaced by Lee Smith who I would now expect to retain his place into the World Club Challenge at the end of the month. Nick Scruton is back in the eighteen replacing Luke Burgess who was unlucky to miss out as eighteenth man last weekend. With the eighteen named by Bluey I'd expect either Nick or Carl Ablett to be the one to miss out.

The Wildcats fans must have been pinching themselves come the final whistle last sunday. Starting the season with a win over the Bradford Bulls must have been more that they could have hoped for, but now they will be filled with the hope and expectation that they can defy all the odds and have a decent season, lets hope that we can bring them back down to earth.

Kear has named the same eighteen as last weekend with every likelihood that Jamie Rooney will get into the seventeen that he missed out on last weekend after shoulder reconstruction during the close season. Atkins, Reilly and George were the 'Cats try scorers last week and they will once again be the danger men. The 'Cats are a sustantially changed side this season and will be considerably leaner and meaner. This could be quite a tussle.

Three 'Cats to watch;


Reilly

Brough

Rooney

Wakefield got one over on the Rhinos 'B' team on bosing day with a 26-18 win at Headingley, but this counts for very little. The Rhinos visited Belle Vue once last season and won narrowly by 32-26. The two meetings at Headinley saw a surprise Wildcats win in July by 23-16 but a comfortable Rhinos victory by 46-04 in September. If the 'Cats are on form, and the Rhinos under par, this could be one that slips away from us.

Southstander.com Prediction
Wildcats 14 22 Rhinos

This is likely to be a close game. The Wildcats are on a high from last week, as are Leeds, but with a big home crowd behind them at a packed Belle Vue it could just sway it in their direction. Leeds will need to be on top of their game and cannot afford to ease off like they did in the second half against the Giants. This one will be a true eighty minuter.

The bookies have given the Wildcats an eight point start and on this occasion I think that they will be bang-on. I'd be lumping on the draw at 16/1 with that start for the home side.

The forecast is for showers throughout the day but clearing by late afternoon for a dry night. As ninety precent of us will be exposed to the elements, we'll be praying that the forcasters have got it right.

With a large crowd expected it should be a great atmosphere. We need to be in good voice and get behind the lads to keep our 100% record intact, and maintain our top-of-the-table position. Enjoy the game.

Don't forget to get your predictions in here.

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