In the second part of a special two-part series in the run-up to the 2017 Super League Grand Final, here’s what the Leeds half of our expert fans panel think of the Rhinos’ chances the Saturday: as well as the threat posed by opponents Castleford Tigers..
It will be a tough game: but if anyone can win a Grand Final, it’s us. We’ve been there, done it, and got the t-shirt!
Cas can play infront of 11,000 at Wheldon Road but can they do it in front of 65,000+ at Old Trafford? Time will tell. Everybody has more or less written us off already so we’re in a win-win situation to be honest. Lose, and everybody within rugby league will be happy.
Win, and there will be even more celebratory beers than normal. Congratulations to Luke Gale on the Man of Steel award, thoroughly deserved this season, he’s been immense: stop him and we’ll have a good chance!
Prediction: Cas 18-20 Rhinos – a farewell try from Danny Maguire too!
As far as Leeds’ chances go, I’m optimistic despite our abject run against Cas, which goes back a couple of years. We’re on a streak of six consecutive Grand Final wins stretching over 12 years, so something has got to give and I fancy our experience to give us the edge despite the obvious quality of the opposition.
Castleford’s dangermen are the number of ex-Rhinos with a point to prove. Luke Gale made the difference against St Helens
Prediction: Rhinos to edge it by two. Plenty of desire in both teams, and if Cas want it more than McGuire and Burrow do, they’ll deserve it.
I believe that Leeds have a very good chance on Saturday night – purely because of our previous experience. Castleford’s dangermen are Luke Gale and Paul McShane.
Prediction: 24-20 to Leeds.
Castleford’s dominance over the Rhinos of late is a worry for us Leeds supporters but on the other side, there’s Leeds’ record in Grand Finals and the fact we rarely disappoint on the big stage.
Cas have so many things going on when they have the ball in their hands and they’ve lots of dangermen. Like Gale has proved beyond doubt in last weeks semi-final that he has nerves of steel – and Leeds will have to keep his thinking time to a minimum if we are to have any chance of turning them over. Paul McShane is, in my opinion, the cleverest hooker in the game and is in many ways an extra scrum-half at hooker. He’s got a very good kicking game and always seems to turn in a top performance against Leeds.
As for our main threats; Adam Cuthbertson’s offloading game could have a massive bearing on the game; Matt Parcell will play off the back of that but his game also depends on whether Leeds can get on the front foot. On his day, Callum Watkins is the best centre in the game and if Danny McGuire and Joel Moon can provide him with good early ball, he has the tools to run riot.
It’s a tough one to call but I’ve said all year that I think Leeds will beat Cas once and I’m sticking to that. I also think the McGuire and Burrow last game factor may play a part and Leeds have Ryan Hall on the wing – who’s always good for a barnstorming try in a big game.
Prediction: Leeds to edge it by 8 points.