Hall could be the Dragons' slayer.Byline: Rod Studd
YOU would be hard pressed to find anyone in Super League circles who was remotely surprised that Leeds chose Catalans as their opponents for tonight's qualifying semi-final at Headingley. Faced with a Club Call choice between the Dragons and Wigan Wigan (wĭg`ən), city (1991 pop. 88,725) and metropolitan district, N England, located in the Manchester metropolitan area on the Douglas River. , it can't have taken the Rhinos' brains trust more than a few seconds to plump for Verb 1. plump for - be behind; approve of; "He plumped for the Labor Party"; "I backed Kennedy in 1960"
back, endorse, indorse, plunk for, support
approve, O.K. the French raiders as the final obstacle on the road to Old Trafford Old Trafford commonly refers to two sporting arenas:
Wigan have far more play-off experience than Catalans and have won four times on Leeds soil since 2006. Contrast that with the Dragons' record at Headingley. Not only is it played four lost four, but the aggregate points difference is 190 to 40. Leeds' lowest winning margin is 28 points.
Leeds are 1-6 to keep the sequence going, but as Christophe Levy, the Dragons general manager, observed this week with a smile: "We had never won at St Helens St Helens may refer to:
Romantics are starting to believe they can go all the way, but reality will surely hit home tonight. The fairytale should end here.
The Dragons have worked overtime defensively but it's difficult to see how they can sufficiently slow down this high speed Leeds attack, which averages almost 30 points a match, to win a lowscoring game like they have in the last three outings.
Fatigue could well be a factor and a blow-out is far from impossible. The Rhinos routed Wigan by 30 points in the corresponding fixture in 2007.
Penalties could also be a big problem. The Dragons have the worst disciplinary record in Super League and handing Leeds cheap field position will be sporting suicide.
1. A feeling of contentment or self-satisfaction, especially when coupled with an unawareness of danger, trouble, or controversy.
2. An instance of contented self-satisfaction. is not an issue with the champions - they know what Catalans are capable of having lost to a last-gasp try in France in June and their big match experience is second to none.
A handicap of a dozen points doesn't look beyond Leeds but the best bet may be to look at the tryscorer markets.
There is rarely any value in backing a player to score at any time, however Totesport's generous 8-11 is worth taking and the stats say Rhinos winger Ryan Hall Ryan Hall can refer to:
He scored his 29th try of the season in the play-off win over Hull KR. He's touched down in ten of his 14 home matches in 2008 and his record against French opponents is phenomenal.
Hall touched down for England in France three months ago and has played four times for Leeds against Catalans scoring in every one of those games.
Seven tries in four matches tells it's own story. Let's hope another chapter is written by the Rhinos flyer tonight.
Recommendations R Hall to score at any time 3pts 8-11 Totesport R Hall to score first try 0.5pt 9-1 Ladbrokes, Hills
Leeds will be hoping prolific winger Ryan Hall can continue his impressive try-scoring form as they bid to land their third successive Grand Final win