Leeds Rhinos: McShane ready to make a mark

Emerging Leeds Rhinos hooker Paul McShane has targeted 2011 as his breakthrough year.

The 21-year-old has made just 12 appearances for Leeds since his debut in 2009, but is now one of only two specialist hookers with Super League experience at the club following Matt Diskin's shock move to Bradford Bulls two months ago.

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With Danny Buderus on paternity leave in Australia, McShane will get a rare start in the Boxing Day charity game at home to Wakefield Trinity Wildcats and he has pledged to make the most of his chance.

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"I've got a big opportunity now this season," said McShane, who had a spell on loan at Hull earlier this year.

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"But it's up to me. I have got Hoody (Liam Hood) under me and there's many people who can fill in my position, so I have got to keep working hard and earn my spot in the team."

McShane made his Rhinos debut last year after coming through the club's academy ranks.

"I have been in and out for the last couple of seasons," he admitted. "Hopefully I can get a solid spot this year and play well enough to stay there.

"If I got into double figures (of games) I would be happy, because I was just short of that last season."

The departure of Diskin cleared the way for McShane to secure a regular spot in Rhinos' match-day squad, but he said the veteran will be missed.

"It has always been down to me," he insisted. "I think if I had been playing well enough I would have got a chance.

"Disko is a great player and he has been a great role model for me.

"I was sorry to see him go, but it is an opportunity for me and hopefully I can grab it with both hands."

Weather-permitting, Sunday's game will be the first chance for Leeds' players to impress new coach Brian McDermott in match action.

"It's a chance to show him what we can do," said McShane. "Hopefully I can set the right example and put a good performance in.

"Training has been really good. We've got new people in and everyone has got a buzz back.

"It is like the slate has been wiped clean. Mac has pulled me in and

said that if I am not performing, there's people who can fill my position.

"You have got to be playing consistently well to keep your spot. "

Meanwhile, the YEP understands that Rhinos will visit Crusaders in a trial game on the weekend beginning Friday, January 28.

Lois Forsell

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