We quizzed our expert Leeds fan, Tom Gilfeather, on the club’s World Club Challenge match with Melbourne.
It’s here. Billed as the biggest game in our history, Leeds travel to Melbourne with the hopes of Super League on our shoulders. As Wigan found in 2014, travelling to Australia is a significant challenge in itself and to win the game would rank as highly as the Super League wins from 5th and the 2015 treble in the successes of the Rhinos through the years.
Undoubtedly, we go into this game as underdogs, but I think that is a title Leeds will relish. There is comparatively little pressure on Leeds to achieve a win. Melbourne with Cameron Smith and Billy Slater amongst a host of international stars at home are clear favourites, but that comes with the caveat of pressure to win. With any luck the Storm will be a bit rusty. As long as we give a good account of ourselves the Rhinos fans will be happy. Playing with two referees will present new challenges but hopefully we can overcome those.
As for the team, Jimmy Keinhorst must have played himself into contention with his hattrick last Thursday – if he hasn’t I wouldn’t blame him for signing for a new team next year. Hopefully Moon will be fit also, as Richie Myler had to take a bit too much control in my opinion last week against Hull KR and we looked somewhat one-dimensional in attack. My main worry is that we’re a bit light in the front row, especially with Mullaly being injured. I can see Jamie Jones-Buchannan playing 80 minutes again which shows our current predicament. Overall, if we win or come close I’ll be happy as it will bode well for the rest of the season.
Score prediction: Leeds Rhinos 20–18 Melbourne Storm