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Young Ones to Star in Derby Clash
Posted by southstander on March 20 2008 - 08:33:54


With both sides hit by a massive injury list, tonights game bears more resemblance to an Academy outing that a passionate Superleague derby.

The RFL have played their part in ramping up the ante by pairing Steve Ganson and Ashley Klein together as referee and video ref for the first time since the infamous (I'm still laughing) Millennium Stadium debacle.

But this is a night for the youngsters to shine, but whose youngsters will emerge victorious?

We preview the game here...

Ryan Bailey is the latest addition to the Rhinos injury list as the Headingley Carnegie injury crisis deepens. Ryan joins; McGuire, Toopi, Gibson, Ablett and Kirke who are all still suffering knocks or worse. This means that Bluey will once again rely on youth to grab the points and he could possibly give a debut to eighteen year old full-back Danny Allen. In any case four out of Tansey, Hall, Burgess, Kaye, Worrall, and Allan will figure in tonights game. Your guess is as good as mine as to which four that will be but I'd definitely expect Luke Burgess to be in the side against his brother, and leading Bulls hope, Sam.

If you thought that Blueys problems were bad, then you hadn't considered those faced by his opposite number Steve McNamara. The poor Bulls coach may well find himself in the situation where he has to use Iestyn Harris in his starting thirteen, now that really is an injury crisis. Injuries, some long-term, include; Glenn Morrison, Joe Vagana, Jamie Langley, Paul Sykes and Tame Tupou. Michael Platt is included but only rated as 50/50 and Chris Nero is named in the 19, but is rated as doubtful. McNamara has even had to recall Craig Kopczak from a loan spell at Halifax to give him the luxury of naming nineteen, good job the RFL cut it down from twenty last week. However, be warned, a wounded Bull is still a mighty dangerous Bull.

Three ex-Rhino Bulls to watch;




The last time that the Bulls were at Headingley was back in June 2007 when they stunned the Rhinos with a 38-14 win inspired by a now departed Vainikolo. It was the Bulls only win out of the three meetings last season, although they should have also won the Millennium Stadium meeting. Leeds last win at Headingley was in 2006 when the Rhinos won the game 26-24 with a last minute smash and grab. The sides for both of those games looked very different to those that will enter into a windy and rainy arena tonight and history will probably give us little indication of which way this game will go. Prediction
Rhinos 32 16 Bulls

I think that Leeds are suffering a little less with injuries and with the defence that we showed last week I'd hope that we can keep the Bulls to a fairly low score. Bradford grabbed a good win against Warrington last week but only narrowly scraped a victory against the Dragons the week previous and lost to Wigan three games ago. Leeds should be over the Castleford blip.

The bookies have given the visitors an eight point start for tonights match and I hope that we'll manage to beat that. Without handicapping, Leeds are 1/3 to win the game with the Bulls at 12/5.

Please note that the Academy curtain raiser has now been called off and will be re-scheduled for a later date. You'll still need to get there early as the game creeps towards a sell out, but perhaps not that early. It looks like rain all the way so make sure you dress accordingly, especially if you are on the western terrace.

Don't forget to get your predictions in here.



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