Friday, 25 May 2007

Quins optimism faces Odsal test

Quins RL go into Sunday’s away game against Bradford Bulls with confidence riding high on the back of an impressive performance against Warrington Wolves. The Bulls however are likely to pose a more significant threat to their 100% record in May so far.

Joe Mbu joins the match squad following his recent return to the club, whilst Louis McCarthy-Scarsbrook also makes the twenty man squad but must remain doubtful having missed the last three games. Star player Scott Hill remains on the injury list as does influential back rower Henry Paul. As a result Mark McLinden and Danny Orr are likely to continue as the halves combination which linked up well against the Wolves last weekend.

Bradford will be missing injury victims Shontayne Hape, Chris Feather, Jamie Langley and Matt Cook, along with aggressive hooker Terry Newton who is suspended. However they retain plenty of star quality throughout the side with Iestyn Harris and Paul Decaon forming one of the UK’s best halves combinations. Ian Henderson provides capable distribution from dummy half whilst Lesley Vainikolo remains one of the most feared strike players in the league despite recent injury concerns.

In recent years the Bulls have gained a reputation for steamrollering opposition with a big pack typified by the likes of Joe Vagana, Andy Lynch and the injured Feather. They also have some hard working all round forwards in Glen Morrison and former Kangaroo Chris McKenna, with Kiwi international David Solomona providing a key attacking threat with damaging runs out wide and one of the best offloading games in rugby league.

The Bulls who currently lie in third place have surprised many this season, having been written off as serious contenders in some quarters. When the sides met at The Stoop in March Bradford were made to work hard for their win but injuries have bitten deeply recently and they were played off the park by Huddersfield Giants last weekend. Quins head coach Brian McDermott himself a former Odsal favourite will be well aware of the threats and weaknesses of the Bulls but will be justifiably hopeful of a victory given his side’s current form.

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