Date: Friday August 29th.
Venue: Headingley Carnegie Stadium.
Kick off: 8:00pm.
Leeds Rhinos: Hardaker, Watkins, Moon, Hall, McGuire, Burrow, Leuluai, Aiton, Peacock, Jones-Buchanan, Ablett, Sinfield, Delaney, Bailey, Kirke, Achurch, Briscoe, Sutcliffe, Singleton. (two to be omitted).
St Helens: Makinson, Turner, Jones, Swift, Hohaia, Masoe, Roby, McCarthy-Scarsbrook, Soliola, Manu, Laffranchi, Flanagan, Amor, Wellens, Walmsley, Percival, Dawson, Richards, McDonnell. (two to be omitted).
Newly-crowned Challenge Cup winners Leeds Rhinos return to Super League action as they welcome the league leaders, St Helens to Headingley on Friday night.
Brian McDermott’s Leeds side sit four points behind Saints at the summit with just three rounds remaining, so Friday’s clash looks set to play a huge role in deciding the destination of the League Leaders’ Shield at the end of the season.
Despite Saturday’s cup success, Leeds’ league form has, perhaps understandably, been poor of late, losing to both relegated sides, Bradford and London, in consecutive league outings, with London picking up their first win of the season two weeks ago, ending a run of 23 consecutive defeats.
Meanwhile, Saints have been severely hit by injury of late but have lost just one of their last five league games and recorded a comfortable 40-16 win against Wakefield two weeks ago.
Brian McDermott looks likely to name the same starting 17 who played in the Challenge Cup victory against Castleford, with Mitch Achurch and Brad Singleton also named in the 19 man squad.
After crossing for two impressive tries in the Challenge Cup final, Ryan Hall needs just one more to reach 200 career scores and Rob Burrow sits just 15 points short of 1000 points for the Rhinos.
For Saints, Lance Hohaia returns to the St. Helens travelling squad, but Gary Wheeler misses out after sustaining a minor groin injury.
Prediction: This will be a tight encounter and both sides will be in confident mood. However, I believe that the home side’s Challenge Cup exploits will take their toll and Saints will just have the edge in the closing stages. Saints by 10.
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