FEARS that Leeds Rhinos’ versatile Aussie Brett Delaney could miss the Carnegie Challenge Cup final have eased.
Boss Brian McDermott says Delaney has “a good chance” of being available for the Wembley showdown with Warrington Wolves a month today, despite suffering a hand injury in last weekend’s win over Bradford Bulls.
There were concerns Delaney had suffered a compound fracture to a thumb, which could keep him out of action for up to six weeks.
But McDermott said: “He has seen a specialist and he hasn’t had surgery. It was a dislocation rather than a break.
“There’s two scenarios and we are not going to find out until it starts healing and we will then see how well it heals.
“The best scenario is Brett gets it strapped up and he plays (against Wakefield) on Monday.
“It’s strange, the bone has come away from the thumb and it’s flopping about, a bit like if you pull your thumb out of a glove.
“It is very difficult to tell how badly damaged it is, but in the worst case he is probably looking at three or four weeks, so there is a very good chance he could make the final.”
Delaney has played most of his rugby in the second-row this season, but filled in at centre against Bradford after Carl Ablett (hamstring) was ruled out.
McDermott reckons Delaney – a member of Leeds’ losing sides in the 2010 and 2011 cup finals – has been one of the team’s unsung heroes this season.
He added: “He has been very good, along with a few, he has been a stand-out.
“Brett’s performances have been very consistent for us this year.”
Meanwhile, McDermott is hopeful that Ablett will return in the Super League game away to Wakefield.
Said the coach: “He should be okay, but we will see how he goes over the next couple of days.
“He is gradually improving and if he carries on at this rate of improvement he will play.
“That is not always the case, sometimes you get to a stage and stay there for a few weeks, which is frustrating, but we’ll see.”
Brent Webb, who has missed six games due to a knee injury, is close to fitness and could feature on Monday.
He was named in the initial 19-man squad for last Friday’s game, but was not selected.
Rhinos’ under-15s (11am) and under-16s (12.45pm) face Wildcats at Headingley on Saturday, with the club’s under-20s meeting at Rapid Solicitors Stadium the same afternoon (2.30pm).