In this edition of Headingley Insight Tony Smith looks ahead to the Rhinos clash with Bradford Bulls this Thursday at Headingley, kick off 8pm.
In this edition of Headingley Insight Tony Smith looks ahead to the Rhinos clash with Bradford Bulls this Thursday at Headingley, kick off 8pm. HOW HAVE YOU APPROACHED THIS GAME? We have been really looking forward to Thursday's game because this is the type of game that brings the best out of people. A massive crowd and a great atmosphere provided by two sets of fans who are passionate about their teams and two fairly evenly matched teams who are at the top of the table and to cap it all, local rivals. We were really pleased to have got the win last week at Widnes and especially so with the fact that we managed keep a clean sheet, something no Leeds team has done in nearly ten years. As good as our defence was, some of the tries we scored on Sunday were terrific especially when you consider the terrible conditions and it is a credit to the players that they continued to play their game. HOW HIGHLY DO YOU RATE BRADFORD? We have a great deal of respect for Bradford and what they have achieved in the game. I would like to wish a warm welcome to Headingley tonight to Brian Noble and his coaching team. Brian has done a tremendous job at Odsal, including a great win in the World Club Challenge against Penrith at the start of the season. We know they will be fully prepared for Thursday's game and we must make sure we match that. There is a lot of passion between both teams given the derby nature of the fixture. Both sets of players know each other fairly well having played against each over on so many occasions so there is a lot of familiarity between the sides. It will also be a good challenge between the two coaches as well, myself and Brian are good mates and there has been a bit of rivalry between us this week also. WILL YOU MAKE ANY CHANGES TO THE SIDE THIS WEEK? This game comes in a busy programme of fixtures for us with three games in eight days which makes it important that we manage our squad accordingly. Jamie Jones-Buchanan limped out of Sunday's game but thankfully it is not as bad as first feared and he has not broken a bone, instead it appears to be just ligament damage and he should be okay in a couple of weeks. Likewise, Gary Connolly will have a fitness test but he will probably not be right for the Bradford match but should be in contention for Monday's trip to Salford. The shoulder surgery Matt Adamson had last week was successful and Matt should be back in contention in four or five weeks.