Jeff Dickinson-Fox reviews the campaign which saw Melbourne Storm crowned premiers in 2017.
4 days ago
Surprise package Salford will be out to show their lofty position is no fluke when they take on third-placed Leeds.
Former Leeds favourite Andrew Dunemann returns to Headingley with form team Salford insisting ?it?s just another game?.
Dunemann made the last of his 80 appearances for the Rhinos in last October?s Grand Final defeat by Bradford and admits it was a wrench to leave.
?My time at Leeds was the happiest of my career, football wise,? he said. ?I really enjoyed it. I became good mates with a lot of the players and learned a lot from the coaching staff.
?I want to get into coaching further down the track and I?ll take a lot of what I learned into that.
?If you leave a club in bad circumstances you maybe want to go back and prove something but it wasn?t like that.
?It will be hard because you?re playing against blokes you?ve been good friends with over the last three years but, once you get out there, there?s no names to faces so you just try to do your best.?
Having played a pivotal role in Salford?s impressive start to the season, Leeds coach Tony Smith admits Dunemann will be one of their major threats tomorrow.
?Andrew is a player and a man that so many of us here at Leeds admire greatly and he will always be part of the Rhinos family,? he said.
?Having said that, we don?t want to be doing him any favours and we will wait until after the game to catch up!?
After claiming the scalps of Warrington and Wigan, the Rhinos are unlikely to make the same mistake of underestimating their opponents.
?We?ve gone alright,? added Dunemann. ?Three of the four teams probably underestimated us going into the game and we?ve made them pay.
?If you look at our side on paper, a lot of people will think they will beat us easily. To our credit, a lot of people have played above what they have previously.
?We?ve done pretty well but we?re not getting carried away. We?ve still got a long way to go.?
Leeds 18-man squad: Mathers, Donald, Walker, Senior, Smith, McGuire, Burrow, Bailey, Diskin, Lauitiiti, Ellis, Sinfield, Millard, Poching, Feather, Scruton, Ablett, Kirke.
Salford 18-man squad: Fitzpatrick, Hodgson, Moule, Stewart, Dunemann, Robinson, Coley, Alker, Finnigan, Sibbit, Highton, Langi, Haggerty, Littler, Clough, Baldwin, Brocklehurst, Clayton.