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Bulls v Rhinos: Teams
At Millennium Stadium, Sunday February 13, KO: 2pm, live on Sky Sports HD2/2 and Sky 3D
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Leeds Rhinos will be up against some familiar faces when they open their engage Super League season against Bradford Bulls on Sunday.
The West Yorkshire derby is being transplanted to Cardiff's Millennium Stadium as part of a weekend feast of rugby league in the Welsh capital.
And to add further spice to the occasion, the Bulls have three former Leeds players making their competitive debuts for the club.
Hooker Matt Diskin moved directly from Headingley during the close-season, while winger Gareth Raynor and centre Chev Walker have both made Bradford the latest stop of their much-travelled careers.
After the disappointment of last season's 10th-place finish, Bradford are hoping the arrival of coach Mick Potter from St Helens will prove the catalyst for an upturn in fortunes.
In addition to the ex-Leeds trio, there are several other new signings in Potter's 19-man squad.
Bryn Hargreaves has followed his coach from Knowsley Road and is joined in the pack by France international Olivier Elima, who signed from Catalans Dragons.
Kiwi winger Patrick Ah Van and Sean Ainscough, who has joined from Wigan in an effort to revive his career, bolster the back division.
The Rhinos have not lost an opening-day fixture for a decade, a run new coach Brian McDermott will be keen to continue.
McDermott left Harlequins at the end of last season to succeed Kiwi Brian McClennan, who has returned home after a successful three-year spell in charge.
Leeds' run of three straight Grand Final victories ended last year when they finished fourth in the table and were eliminated by eventual champions Wigan in the play-offs.
The injury problems that hampered the latter stages of that campaign remain evident, with England captain Jamie Peacock and stand-off Danny McGuire still sidelined.
Young prospect Kallum Watkins does, however, make a welcome comeback after a long spell on the sidelines and new recruits Ben Cross and Weller Hauraki also feature in the 19-man squad.
Taking charge of the match will be Steve Ganson, whose return to centre stage will stir unpleasant memories for the Bulls.
The St Helens referee was the central figure in the most controversial and memorable incident of any of the four previous magic weekends when the concept was introduced in 2007 and the six-match programme in Cardiff was completed by a stormy Leeds-Bradford game.
Bradford were in front when Ganson wrongly awarded Leeds a last-gasp penalty on the advice of video referee Ashley Klein and then compounded the error by allowing a match-winning try to Jordan Tansey, who was clearly offside when Kevin Sinfield's penalty rebounded off the bar.
Ganson subsequently apologised and was dropped the following week while then Bradford coach Steve McNamara avoided sanction for claiming his side was "cheated" of victory.
Ganson missed the last two months of last season after being arrested on suspicion of assault outside a wedding reception the night before he was due to officiate at a Challenge Cup semi-final.
He was released from bail without charge in November and resumed his position in the Rugby Football League's squad of full-time officials.
Ganson made a low-key return by refereeing Batley's Northern Rail Cup tie against Leigh last Sunday.
Bradford 19-man squad: Ainscough, Ah Van, Briggs, Diskin, Elima, Hargreaves, Kearney, Kopczak, Langley, L'Estrange, Lynch, Platt, Raynor, Royston, Scruton, Sibbit, Sykes, Walker, Whitehead
Leeds 19-man squad: Webb, Smith, Delaney, Senior, Hall, Burrow, Leuluai, Buderus, Jones-Buchanan, Ablett, Sinfield, Lauitiiti, Cross, Bailey, Kirke, Burgess, Watkins, Hauraki, Pitts
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First Utility Super League Table
|5||Hull K R||0||0|
|7||Salford Red Devils||0||0|
|First Utility Super League|
|Thursday 5th February|
|20:00||Widnes vs Wigan|
|Friday 6th February|
|20:00||St Helens vs Catalans Dragons|
|Saturday 7th February|
|15:00||Warrington vs Salford|
|Sunday 8th February|
|15:00||Huddersfield vs Hull|
|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|
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