Off to a flyer
Stevo says Leeds must come out the blocks firing when they face Manly in the World Club Challenge.
Last Updated: 16/02/12 7:36pm
This is the big one. Leeds coach Brian McDermott has said that his side are not out for revenge against Manly after their loss to them in 2009, but I think they will be looking to turn the tables on the NRL champions.
Leeds don't need me to tell them that if they play anything like they did against Wigan last week then they could be in for a bit of a hiding.
I think that the Rhinos need to get off to a flyer. Manly will be a little unsteady on their feet in the first 10-15 minutes and Leeds have to take full advantage of that. They cannot let this side get into their stride or give them room to move. Daly Cherry-Evans is a very good halfback and can really get this side moving. Leeds defence against Wigan at times was appalling and they cannot allow Manly that latitude.
Against Wigan, Jamie Peacock did not look fit and it was not surprising when he came off. They will be hoping that Callum Watkins is fit because he has been playing very well and been in top form.
Leeds know the quality players that Manly have - especially Jamie Lyon. He may be getting on in years but he has the experience and some fantastic skills. His ability to offload in heavy traffic is superb and Leeds have got to make sure that they don't get sucked in. He has this wonderful habit of looking like he is about to make a break which brings the winger off his line only for Lyons to flick the pass away - he is a master of it and Leeds will need to be on their toes.
Manly just wear the opposition down with their superb defence. You look through the list of names in the squad - Glenn Stewart, David Williams Steve Matai , Kieran Foran, the list goes on and on.
Leeds have some quality too, Rob Burrow - well I cannot say enough about his talent. He is relishing playing in the hooking role and I think he along with Kevin Sinfield and Danny McGuire, will be key for Leeds success.
Jamie Peacock will want to get back into action and really toughen up a lot from last week - that run out against Wigan would have done him a world of good though, but you could tell that he was not quite up to match fitness yet. Leeds will be hoping that Kallum Watkins is fully fit. Watkins has been playing exceptionally well and they will really want him firing on all cylinders for this game.
The fact that there is a World Club Championship title at stake means that Leeds will lift their game - they have to or it will be a very disappointed full house.
The unknown here is Geoff Toovey. He has been at Manly for five years as their assistant coach behind Des Hasler. He knows all the systems and the players but it will be interesting to see if he will be confident enough to tweak things and come away from Hasler's ideas. I think he will play safety first, quick play of the ball, run it upfront and put plenty of pressure on with the kicking game.
KEY MAN: For me Rob Burrow is the man to kick start Leeds into action. He will need to control things and keep Manly on the back foot. A lot will rely on Sinfields kicking game too, but for me Burrow is the man to watch.
STEVO SAYS: The first 15 minutes will decide who wins. If Leeds can get in front and then hang on to half time then they should win it. I think Manly will tire in the latter stages of the game - especially if it is a pressure game and only a couple of points in it.