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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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Super League Table
|9||Hull K R||27||23|
|10||Salford Red Devils||27||23|
|13||Bradford Bulls *||27||10|
|First Utility Super League|
|Thursday 5th February|
|20:00||Widnes vs Wigan|
|Friday 6th February|
|20:00||St Helens vs Catalans Dragons|
|Sunday 8th February|
|15:00||Huddersfield vs Hull|
|15:00||Warrington vs Salford|
|15:00||Hull K R vs Leeds|
|15:30||Castleford vs Wakefield|
|Thursday 12th February|
|20:00||Salford vs St Helens|
|Friday 13th February|
|20:00||Hull vs Warrington|
|20:00||Leeds vs Widnes|
|20:00||Wigan vs Huddersfield|
|First Utility Super League|
|Saturday 11th October|
|St Helens 14 - 6 Wigan|
|Friday 3rd October|
|Wigan 16 - 12 Warrington|
|Thursday 2nd October|
|St Helens 30 - 12 Catalans Dragons|
|Friday 26th September|
|Huddersfield 16 - 18 Catalans Dragons|
|Thursday 25th September|
|Castleford 14 - 30 Warrington|
|Saturday 20th September|
|Leeds 20 - 24 Catalans Dragons|
|Warrington 22 - 19 Widnes|
|Friday 19th September|
|St Helens 41 - 0 Castleford|
|Thursday 18th September|
|Wigan 57 - 4 Huddersfield|
|Sunday 14th September|
|Wakefield 18 - 42 Hull K R|
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