Adrian Morley predicts nail-biter against Leeds
Dave Hadfield was a schoolboy convert to rugby league, the game which, one way or another, has dominated his life ever since. After working for newspapers in Shropshire and Blackpool (where he covered the fortunes of Blackpool Borough) he travelled the world, working mainly in Hong Kong and Sydney. He became The Independent's rugby league man in 1990 and has written five books on the game and broadcast extensively for Sky and the BBC. Dave played his last game at the age of 53 and would have set up a try if anyone could have been bothered supporting his break. When not writing about the sport, he now limits himself to a bit of tick and pass with his local club, the Bolton Mets. Family includes supporters - of varying degrees of dedication - of Salford, Wigan, Sheffield Eagles and St George Illawarra.
Rugby League Correspondent
Friday 13 September 2013
A double-header of games a few miles apart today will go a long way towards determining the emerging pattern of this season’s Super League play-offs.
Hard on the heels of Wigan’s victory at Huddersfield, their two north-west neighbours are both in action this afternoon and evening. Warrington and Leeds stage a repeat of last year’s Grand Final, having also met in an epic in July, which the Wolves won 19-18.
Their captain and former Leeds prop, Adrian Morley, expects it to be as close this time. “The last game in particular was a real nail-biter,” he said. “They’ve got a few of their big players back, but we are in a healthy position injury-wise as well, so it’s all adding up to a cracking contest.”
The Rhinos’ only change is recalling the battle-hardened prop, Ryan Bailey, after a one-match suspension at the expense of the 18-year-old forward, Alex Foster.
“They are probably the form team, but we are confident, too,” said Morley, who leaves at the end of this season for his home-town club, Salford.
Like Leeds, the Wolves have stuck to fielding strong line-ups during the latter stages of the season, rather then giving front-line players a rest.
The same cannot be said of Hull KR, who go to St Helens in the sudden death semi-final this evening. They add a small army of first-choice players to the squad that lost to the London Broncos in their final regular season match last Sunday.
Most important is their scrum-half and playmaker, Michael Dobson, for whom this will be his last game in Rovers’ colours if they lose.
Saints’ season has steadily improved, giving them a fifth-placed finish, the position from which Leeds have won the last two Super Leagues. They are unchanged and have settled into a pattern of play which eluded them when they looked likely to miss out on the play-offs altogether.
There is good World Cup news from Australia for the England coach, Steve McNamara, whose possible stand-off for the tournament, Gareth Widdop, came safely through his comeback game for Melbourne.
Widdop had been ruled out by a dislocated hip, but has returned ahead of schedule to stake his claim, despite being unable to help the Storm win their play-off match against South Sydney.
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