the real deal this year?
That's a question many
people have been asking. For the last three years at least
they've been just that little bit behind Bradford, St Helens and
However a ten match
unbeaten start to this season and a Challenge Cup Final
appearance suggested they had found some consistency at last.
But they went and lost
the Cup Final to rivals Bradford Bulls and repeated it last week
losing 48-22 in Super League at Odsal.
Thats been Leeds
problem during recent years. Good, but when the big games come
round they flatter to deceive.
Friday's match against
Wigan will give them an opportunity to prove they are top
contenders this year and thats why it will be a difficult match
They need to bounce
back from the Odsal defeat with a win or their great start to
the season will basically lie in ruins.
The Rhinos visit sees
their former Warriors Gary Connolly and Dave Furner return to
the JJB for the first time since leaving us in the off season.
On returning to us
"I've got no problems at all going back,"
"I've always enjoyed playing there and I'm looking forward to
the return game.
Our first game against them this year was a cracker and this
next one will be the same.
"They are playing well, they're well controlled and big Andy
They've got a good structure there and they will be up for the
"They will be looking for two points as well and we've got to
make sure we take them off them."
are obviously targeting Furner as a danger man because Andy
Farrell has been placed in the second row for the match instead
of twenty year old Danny Tickle who is dropped to the subs
Graham moves back to Loose Forward now that Sean O'Loughlin is
available again at Stand Off.
O'Connor has recovered from flu meaning we have the novelty of
three fit props!
returning is Brett Dallas, who is rumoured to be off at the end
of the season. His return is a boost especially with Brian
Carney ruled out with flu.
Looking ahead to the contest Wigan Coach Stuart Raper said:
"Leeds will be upset at their performance against Bradford.
The Bulls played very well and you can't take anything away from
them but it is another game for us, we are making steady
progression and improving our play. We have been going on
quietly doing our job and getting the wins and that is what we
have to keep doing. We know the intensity against Leeds will be
a lot different from the one against Halifax but that game has
been good preparation for us, to get the confidence of scoring
tries and the guys feel fresh and ready for Friday night."
mentions we'll be fresh but what about the Rhinos?
They've been looking more and more tired every match in recent
weeks culminating in the heavy loss at Odsal. Will be
interesting to see how they look this week.
earlier that this match an opportunity for Leeds to prove
themselves, the same can be said for Wigan.
performance here would set a marker for the rest of the season
nicely. Two points and second place would be a realistic target
for us. Who would have thought that just over a month a go?
however and it's back to the drawing board and we'll be looking
behind us again rather than aiming for the top like we should be
I fancy us to win with us being at home and having Farrell back.
He can win a match for us all by himself and is a vital asset
that could prove the difference. Put it this way if Farrell had
played at Headingley a few weeks a go I doubt we'd have dropped
a point there!
Opposition One to
27 year old Great Britain
international centre Keith Senior is always a danger man for
His combination of pace and power make him a threat from
anywhere in the back division, be it the wing or from
SQUAD NUMBER: 4