Leeds set for title showdown

James Gordon

Leeds face St Helens tonight in a top of the table clash with the winner likely to be rewarded with the League Leaders shield.

Saints have led the way for much of the season, but have now been overtaken at the top by the Rhinos, who have won the last two Grand Finals, despite finishing below Saints in the standings.

Leeds welcome back Ian Kirke and Carl Ablett, and have a fully-fit squad to choose from, with the exception of long-term injury victim Danny Buderus.

Head Coach Brian McClennan said: There will be battles right across the field tonight too many to try and mention them all. The game will be a treat for supporters of both teams and fans of Rugby League in general. We have two of the best groups of players in the country going head to head and I am sure that will bring the best out of them both.

“I know that both sets of supporters have been excited about this game for weeks and the bumper crowd inside Headingley Carnegie testifies to that. However, as far as we are concerned the game is just about the two points on offer and helping us achieve the goal of finishing top of the table.”

The game is set for a bumper crowd in the penultimate game of the regular season.

McClennan added: “Our initial goal was to make sure that we finished in the top two thus giving us the best possible chance in the new eight team play offs. However, having now reached top spot our immediate goal is to finish there and claim the League Leaders Shield.

“Despite winning back to back Championships in 2007 and 2008, some pundits have still questioned our credentials because we did not finish top of the table. It would be nice to go into the Play Offs in number one position to give those people no excuses.”