5 hours ago - 4 Likes
Preview: Leeds v Catalans (R28)
Leeds Rhinos and Catalans Dragons meet on Friday both hoping for an end-of-season boost.
While the result is largely academic in terms on league positions, the Rhinos will be keen to get back to winning ways ahead of the play-offs after their mauling by St Helens and the Frenchmen are hoping to finish their inaugural season on a high note.
The Dragons, immune from relegation, are virtually guaranteed to collect the wooden spoon but they can finish the season among the prizes if winger Justin Murphy remains top of the Super League try-scoring chart.
The Australian flier, who had a brief spell with Widnes Vikings two years ago, has scored 24 tries in 27 matches so far, to edge ahead of Leeds stand-off Danny McGuire, whose return from a six-match absence with shin splints provides an intriguing sideshow.
The 27-year-old Murphy was set to be axed at the end of the season to make way for new signing Adam Mogg but his prolific run has been enough to earn him a new contract.
"He had a bit of a hiccup in form but, once he got the kick up the pants, he hasn?t looked back," said coach Mick Potter.
"It would be a phenomenal achievement for a player in a team running at the bottom of the table. It would be fantastic for a player to say he?s done that.
"But McGuire can score three tries in the blink of an eye. He?s a very dangerous player."
Leeds are without rugby union-bound centre Chev Walker through injury but the Great Britain international, who takes up a three-year contract with Bath on November 1, revealed that he has rejected a request to leave early.
"I said there was no way," said Walker. "I definitely want to see it out here. I?ve got no interest in going to Bath until my time?s done at Leeds."
Leeds Rhinos 18-man squad: Donald, Senior, McGuire, Burrow, Bailey, Peacock, Lauitiiti, Ellis, Sinfield, Millard, Jones-Buchanan, Scruton, Kirke, Williams, Gibson, Tansey, Thackray, Toopi.
Catalans Dragons 18-man squad: Beattie, Berthezene, Bosc, Chan, Fakir, Fellous, Frayssinous, Griffi, Guisset, Hindmarsh, Jones, Khattabi, Mounis, Murphy, Sadaoui, Touxagas, Verges, Zitter.
Referee: K Kirkpatrick