Leeds Rhinos: McShane could make big impact - Mac

Back-up hooker Paul McShane has been identified as a player who could make a big impact for Leeds Rhinos this year.

Coach Brian McDermott has singled out McShane as one of Rhinos' top performers in training so far.

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And he pledged the 21-year-old will see plenty of action this season following stalwart Matt Diskin's move to Bradford Bulls.

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The coach was pleased with McShane's contribution in the New Year's Day

win over Wakefield and McDermott said: "He has done really well.

"He is looking fit and keen and that's good because with Matt Diskin leaving we are going to need somebody to be an understudy for Danny Buderus.

"He was good on New Year's Day and he has been good in preparation."

McShane made his Rhinos debut in 2009, starting one game and coming off the bench in two others.

He played nine times last year – seven of them in the starting line-up – and also had a four-match stint on loan at Hull.

Rhinos used a two-hooker system in matches last term, interchanging Buderus and Diskin, but McDermott has not revealed whether he plans to

use a similar tactic.

"It's not black and white," he said. "A lot of it is down to the type of hooker you've got and whether he can play a lot of game time."

But he added: "McShane will play some games this year. What we've done in the competition over the last few years is make everybody very fast and very big and very strong.

"We're not getting enough emphasis on skill and subtlety, especially around the dummy-half area.

"I coached a bloke at Harlequins, Chad Randall, who was one of the best at providing guile around dummy-half and Jimmy Lowes (now Rhinos' assistant-coach) was one of the best we've seen for a long time.

"Macca will give you a running game, but he has also got a bit of subtlety and guile around dummy-half, which is very hard to coach.

"He has been born with that. That's what you learn playing touch and pass and one-on-one in the street.

"His task is to make sure he has got the engine and the fitness to be able to do it, to show he can play at Super League level for a good length of game time.

"That's not saying he is lazy or he doesn't work hard, but some players have different challenges. Because of his body shape, his challenge is to show us what his engine is like.

"Having Jimmy Lowes here will help him and so will Danny Buderus. He's got two fellas who are world class to learn from, one who is playing now and another who used to and is now on the coaching staff. He is in great hands."

The Leeds coach is also expecting big things from outside-back Kallum Watkins, who made his return from a knee reconstruction in the New Year's Day game.

"Kallum will be keeping all the backline honest, because he has got huge potential," said McDermott. "He is another one who has done really well in training."

Back-rower Chris Clarkson – the 2010 YEP Shooting Star – has been given the all-clear to resume training, after fracturing a wrist in practice last month.

Jaap Stam.

Leeds United on Twitter: Jaap Stam close to tears and Amadou Haidara