Leeds Rhinos: It’s now or never for us says skipper McGuire

Danny McGuire
Danny McGuire
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FRUSTRATED SKIPPER Danny McGuire admits it is now or never for Leeds Rhinos.

FRUSTRATED SKIPPER Danny McGuire admits it is now or never for Leeds Rhinos.

McGuire is hoping for a return to action when Rhinos play host to Castleford Tigers tonight.

After taking over from Kevin Sinfield at the end of last year, injuries have restricted the new captain to just three games.

With McGuire on a lengthy casualty list, Rhinos have been knocked out of the Ladbrokes Challenge Cup and are bottom of First Utility Super League.

And he admitted they have to start winning now if they are to get anything out of what has been a dire campaign so far.

“I was really excited about this year and what my role in the team was and the added responsibility of being captain,” McGuire said.

“It has not worked out like I expected or what the team expected, but we are sticking together.

“We know we are in a tough situation now, but hopefully we are going to start finding a bit of form now, pick up some wins and push ourselves up the table.

“We just need to find some consistency within the next few weeks.”

Rhinos’ next three games after tonight are all against teams in the top-four. With Leeds needing around 14 points from the final 10 rounds of the regular season to snatch a place in the Super-8s, it is a tough challenge.

But McGuire said: “We need to win the next few games and build up a bit of confidence within the team to start pushing ourselves up the ladder. We are still determined to make the top-eight and have a say in the Super-8s, but we can’t afford to slip up any more.

“We need to start putting in good performances, beginning this week.”

Rhinos have been in contention in most of their 12 defeats this year and McGuire said that gives them belief they can turn things around.

“We have had a few games where we’ve lost by the odd try,” he recalled.

“That shows the competition is pretty tough and intense this year and you can’t afford to be off your game, because if you are you get turned over.

“We have lost a few games we could potentially have won, but that’s the situation this year and it’s why we are sitting at the bottom of the table.”

McGuire said he is “80 per cent sure” he will be fit for tonight’s derby.

If he gets the all-clear it will be only his fourth appearance of the year and his first since the loss at Salford on April 9.

“It has been tough being on the sidelines,” McGuire said.

“Ask any player, the worst thing about being a sportsman is being injured and not being able to get out there and help your teammates.

“It has been a frustrating year for me, without a doubt and I am just itching to get back out there and start doing my bit for the team.”

McGuire, who has been struggling with a quad muscle problem after initially being sidelined with knee damage, added: “I’ve had a few running sessions and I am feeling confident I’ve got a good chance of playing.”

Meanwhile, Rhinos spokesman Phil Daly said Ryan Hall (ankle) and Tom Briscoe (shoulder) are still around a month away from returning to action, but Joel Moon (groin) is close to a comeback.

Carl Ablett (ankle), Brett Delaney (hamstring) and Beau Falloon (back) are several weeks away and Stevie Ward (knee) is aiming for a return in July or August.

Rhinos’ under-19s face Widnes Vikings at Stanningley tomorrow (7pm).

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