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Leeds Vs. Nth Queensland
2016 World Club Series, 22 February, 2016
|Headingley Carnegie Stadium, Leeds|
|Nth Queensland 38 defeated Leeds 4|
|Referee: Silverwood, R|
|Touch judges: Roberts, J & Sharrad, C|
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NRL premiers North Queensland take on the Super League’s best team the Leeds Rhinos at Headingley Carnegie Stadium. Join The Roar from 5:40am (AEDT) Monday for all the action from Yorkshire.
The Cowboys are in the World Club Challenge for the first time, after defeating Brisbane in last year’s grand final. The Rhinos are experts at this contest, having played in it in 2013 and 2009 to name but a few.
The game is the final in the expanded three-match World Club Series, where St Helens faced the Roosters and Wigan took on the Broncos. But this is the important one, the match with the title of best in the world on the line.
Despite not playing a competitive game yet this year, the Cowboys go into the match as heavy favourites. They have Johnathan Thurston, the best player on the planet, and no injuries to contend with. Paul Green has named the same 17 that defeated the Broncos in golden point last year.
In contrast Leeds have been gutted since they beat Wigan in the Super League grand final at Old Trafford in 2015. Six of that 17 are missing for this encounter.
Key players Kevin Sinfield, Jamie Peacock and Kylie Leuluai have all retired from rugby league while Tom Briscoe, Danny McGuire and Carl Ablett are all injuried. The Rhinos will have to rely on two young, inexperienced halves in Liam Sutcliffe and Jordan Lilley, to direct them around the park and they also have a very green bench.
There are some familiar names in the Leeds side, such as ex-NRL players Joel Moon, Keith Galloway, Adam Cuthbertson, Brett Delaney and Mitch Garbutt. They will surely be keen to made a good impression against their fellow countrymen.
The Rhinos have some weapons to call on, such as England internationals Zak Hardaker, Ryan Hall and Kallum Watkins, but injuries have cruelled their chances. New signing Bea Fallon, who joined recently from Gold Coast, is also missing.
The Cowboys have no such problems. Thurston and company will be out to win a trophy they have never held before. It surely will be strong motivation for them.
The conditions will be cold and the crowd will be parochial, both in the Rhinos favour. But North Queensland have too much class and danger men from 1 to 17. I’m tipping a comfortable win for the NRL boys by at least 12 points.
Join The Roar from 5:40am (AEDT) Monday morning for the 2016 World Club Challenge.