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Wounded Rhinos look vulnerable.

Byline: Rod Studd

WARRINGTON v leeds sky sports 1, 8pm In the four years since Tony Smith took over as coach of Warrington, his new club and his old one Leeds have collected the lion's share of silverware on offer in rugby league, writes Rod Studd.

Between them the two clubs have collected six trophies - three Grand Final victories for the Rhinos and three Challenge Cup triumphs for the Wolves.

There may be an even share of trophies but bookmakers expect anything but an even contest tonight with the injury-ravaged Rhinos quoted at 4-1 to spring a surprise at the Halliwell Jones Stadium.

Leeds coach Brian McDermott is without a host of big names including captain Kevin Sinfield, Danny McGuire, Brett Delaney and Jamie Jones-Buchanan.

Leeds have managed just three wins in eight attempts in the midst of the injury crisis and they came against Widnes (twice) and Castleford. This is a huge step up in class for the Rhinos youngsters who are having to plug the gaps.

Warrington are without scrumhalf Richie Myler but the talented Stefan Ratchford replaces him and the Wolves are all but at full strength. Joel Monaghan, Mickey Higham and Chris Hill all return after being rested last weekend.

Tony Smith's team have won five on the trot and ten of their last 11 games. They didn't need to get out of second gear to win 26-12 at Bradford last time out.

The Rhinos' last two regularseason trips to Warrington have resulted in two resounding Wolves wins and the question is have the bookies gone far enough in offering Leeds a dozen points on the handicap? Probably not. Warrington are averaging six tries a game and if that's maintained tonight, the line should be covered by the home team who are chasing Wigan and Huddersfield in the race for top spot.

A week ago, opposing a Sam Tomkins-less Wigan proved a profitable ploy against Castleford and there's an obvious temptation to do so again as Bradford head to the DW Stadium receiving an 18-point handicap.

The Warriors are still missing influential skipper Sean O'Loughlin but can field a stronger side than against the Tigers and the Bulls are so out of sorts, it's difficult to recommend backing them.

Bradford have lost eight of their last nine and are without key men Brett Kearney and Jarrod Sammut so a watching brief is advised.

Recommendation Warrington -12 2pts 10-11 bet365, Paddy Power VVNRL previews, page 109

handicap betting start received (+) by leeds BET365 BETFRED BETVICTOR BOYLE CORAL HILLS LADS POWER Handicap +12 +14 +14 +14 +14 +14 +12 +12 Warrington 10-11 20-21 10-11 10-11 10-11 10-11 5-6 10-11 Leeds 10-11 10-11 10-11 10-11 10-11 10-11 Evs 10-11 Tie 16 16 14 16 16 16 16 16


Stefan Ratchford has been impressive for Warrington
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:The Racing Post (London, England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Jul 5, 2013
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