Leeds Rhinos coach Brian McDermott has a fully-fit squad to select from ahead of Friday’s crunch trip to Warrington Wolves, but he admits he doesn’t expect the situation to last.
Second-rower Brett Delaney made his first appearance since the end of last season when he played for Hunslet Hawks on dual-registration in their 50-6 defeat at Bradford Bulls two days ago.
Delaney – who has recovered from knee surgery and an ankle problem – was taken off after damaging a hand, but McDermott expects him to be available for Friday’s game.
“For the first time in six months he ran with a bit of collision and a bit of contact,” McDermott said.
“I was at the game and I watched him through it. It was a tough old day for him and the team, but he will benefit from that hugely.
“We’ll see how he pulls up over the next few days as to whether he’s in contention this week.
“It’s not a ‘no’, but in reality I’d like him to have a bit more prep’.”
Mitch Achurch suffered a leg injury in last Thursday’s win at Hull, but McDermott said he expects the on-song forward to be in contention for the match in three days’ time.
“I don’t think he is a doubt, but he is carrying one or two things,” McDermott said. “He has got some pulls and strains which he’s been carrying for a few weeks, but that won’t change his game too much, I don’t think.”
Rhinos’ Jimmy Keinhorst, Andy Yates and Rob Mulhern also played for Hunslet on Sunday and Josh Walters made his debut for the Kingstone Press Championship side a week earlier.
McDermott has fielded the same starting 13 in all four of Rhinos’ Super League games so far this year and he admitted: “It’s a very good position to be in, but we run with a very thin squad and have done while I’ve been coach.
“If anybody’s not getting regular game time we send them on loan and get them regular game time.
“We don’t have a raft of people every week who are not playing.
“It’s unhealthy for us and for them. We are only at round four, it is a fortunate position to be in, but it won’t stay like that forever.”
McDermott added: “It will change, it has got to change.
“We are all waiting for the year when somebody goes through the season injury-free, but that will never happen.
“If we do go through periods where we are injury-free we will have to send some people out on loan. Either way, we are going to run with a thin squad.”