23 hours ago
Leeds - Smith talks about Bradford
Coach Tony Smith looks ahead to the Rhinos game against Bradford Bulls at Headingley this Friday, kick off 8pm.
How dangerous will Bradford be this Friday?
Tony Smith: Games against the Bulls are always incredibly tough encounters and I know that both sets of supporters look forward to these games more than any others. It is important from our point of view that we approach the match as any other and try not to get caught up in the atmosphere generated on such a night. Bradford are back in good form recently and arrive at Headingley with three big wins under their belt in the last month and are hitting their best form at the business end of the season. They will set a big challenge for us but it is one that we are looking forward to.
How pleased are you with your squad at this stage of the season?
Tony Smith: With Kevin Sinfield returning from injury last week, we now have everyone back from long term injury. To have everyone available at this stage of the season is a credit to the hard work of the not just the players, who do an exceptional job of looking after themselves, but also our medical and conditioning staff. That obviously brings with it it?s own problems with players having to be left out but that also creates tremendous competition within the squad and brings the best out of the people we have within our squad.
Will you make any changes this week?
Tony Smith: Danny Ward and Jamie Jones-Buchanan are both back available for selection this week and will return to the 18 man squad. This game has come a bit too early for Willie Poching but he is making good progress as he recovers and we will monitor the situation next week.
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Squad: The squad in full is: 1. Richard Mathers 2. Mark Calderwood 3. Chev Walker 4. Keith Senior 5. Marcus Bai 6. Danny McGuire 7. Rob Burrow 8. Ryan Bailey 9. Matt Diskin 10. Barrie McDermott 11. Ali Lauitiiti 12. Chris McKenna 13. Kevin Sinfield (c) 14. Andrew Dunemann 15. Danny Ward 18. Jamie Jones-Buchanan 20. Gareth Ellis 23. Lee Smith
Milestones: If Barrie McDermott starts against Bradford on Friday night it will be the prop's 200th appearance in the starting line up for the Rhinos. McDermott actually made his debut against the same opposition back on 22nd September 1995. Great Britain centre Chev Walker will make his 150th appearance for Leeds having made his debut back in 1999.
On 13 previous occasions the attendance for this fixture has exceeded 20,000 and no other fixture in Super League conjures up such excitement between not just both sets of supporters but the game in general. The past four meetings at Headingley have attracted sell out crowds of 21,225.
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Thanks to Leeds Rhinos Media for this article.