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Super League play-offs preview: Leeds Rhinos v St Helens
Super League champions Leeds Rhinos face the prospect of elimination from the play-offs on Friday when bogey team St Helens come to Headingley Carnegie.
Although the Rhinos won at Langtree Park earlier in the campaign their home record against Saints is woeful, including a 30-22 loss earlier in the season despite taking a 16-0 lead.
St Helens have won their last three trips to Headingley and victory on Friday would deny the Rhinos a possible chance of reaching Old Trafford for the sixth time in seven seasons.
While the Rhinos were crushed by Warrington 40-20 on Saturday, Saints make the trip along the M62 full of confidence after brushing aside Hull KR 46-10 last week.
Leeds head coach Brian McDermott has named an unchanged squad, with Chris Clarkson and Mitch Achurch remaining in the initial 19 for Friday's clash.
The game will mark the 300th and 100th career appearances respectively for Leeds duo Kylie Leuluai and Kallum Watkins.
"We're going to have to put in a big week to prepare for the game against St Helens and make sure we come out on the right side of the result," Ben Jones-Bishop told the club's official website.
"But for us to have senior blokes like Jamie Peacock and Kevin Sinfield in our team, who have been there and done it before, is a big boost as they've set the precedent.
"They lead and we follow and it's all about the mind-set of do or die and being the most clinical team on the day and obviously we've managed to be that team in past years so hopefully we can be that team again."
St Helens coach Nathan Brown is also hoping to stick with the team that thrashed Hull KR in the first round of the play-offs.
Makeshift scrum-half Jon Wilkin (concussion) and full-back Jonny Lomax (hamstring) failed to finish that match and Brown admits he may have to delay finalising his line-up.
"We've got a few bumps," he said. "We'll make a late check on one or two, that are causing a bit of concern. We're no different to any other side at this time of year."
Leeds Rhinos: Hardaker, Jones-Bishop, Watkins, Moon, Hall, McGuire, Burrow, Leuluai, Peacock, Jones-Buchanan, Ablett, Sinfield, Delaney, Bailey, Kirke, Clarkson, Achurch, Singleton, Sutcliffe.
St Helens: Wellens, Turner, Soliola, Meli, Hohaia, Lomax, Roby, McCarthy-Scarsbrook, Puletua, Wilkin, Manu, Laffranchi, Clough, Jones, Makinson, Greenwood, Walmsley, Swift, Howarth.
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First Utility Super League Table
|9||Hull K R||3||2|
|10||Salford Red Devils||3||2|
|First Utility Super League|
|Thursday 5th March|
|20:00||Hull FC vs Leeds Rhinos|
|Friday 6th March|
|20:00||Wakefield Wildcats vs St Helens|
|20:00||Huddersfield Giants vs Widnes Vikings|
|20:00||Castleford Tigers vs Wigan Warriors|
|Saturday 7th March|
|15:30||Catalans Dragons vs Salford Red Devils|
|Sunday 8th March|
|15:00||Warrington Wolves vs Hull K R|
|Thursday 12th March|
|20:00||Huddersfield vs Castleford|
|Friday 13th March|
|20:00||Warrington vs Leeds|
|20:00||Wigan vs Hull|
|20:00||Widnes Vikings vs St Helens|
|First Utility Super League|
|Sunday 1st March|
|Widnes Vikings 16 - 58 Wakefield Wildcats|
|Hull K R 22 - 20 Wigan Warriors|
|Saturday 28th February|
|Salford Red Devils 32 - 28 Hull FC|
|Catalans Dragons 38 - 18 Warrington Wolves|
|Friday 27th February|
|St Helens 21 - 14 Castleford Tigers|
|Thursday 26th February|
|Leeds Rhinos 28 - 24 Huddersfield Giants|
|Sunday 15th February|
|Wakefield 44 - 24 Hull K R|
|Saturday 14th February|
|Catalans Dragons 13 - 12 Castleford|
|Friday 13th February|
|Hull 6 - 7 Warrington|
|Leeds 38 - 6 Widnes|
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