Leeds Rhinos: Peacock won’t play on

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DREAM TEAM record breaker Jamie Peacock says he could play again next year, but is sticking with his decision to retire.

Prop Peacock was one of four Leeds Rhinos players named in this year’s First Utility Super League form team, along with full-back Zak Hardaker, centre Kallum Watkins and Adam Cuthbertson, who was chosen at loose-forward. It is the 11th time Peacock has been selected in the Dream Team and his final appearance before he retires at the end of the season to join Hull KR as rugby manager.

Smile please!: Retiring Rhinos legend  Jamie Peacock gets his fellow Dream Team members laughing for the camera at yesterday's unveiling. Peacock was joined in the 13 by Leeds team-mates Adam Cuthbertson, back row centre, Kallum Watkins, back row far right, and Zak Hardaker, front centre, with Castleford Tigers pair Michael Shenton, back row second right, and Luke Gale, right of Hardaker, also included in the line-up.

Smile please!: Retiring Rhinos legend Jamie Peacock gets his fellow Dream Team members laughing for the camera at yesterday's unveiling. Peacock was joined in the 13 by Leeds team-mates Adam Cuthbertson, back row centre, Kallum Watkins, back row far right, and Zak Hardaker, front centre, with Castleford Tigers pair Michael Shenton, back row second right, and Luke Gale, right of Hardaker, also included in the line-up.

He will play his last game at Headingley on Friday when Rhinos face St Helens in a Super League play-off semi-final and he said: “I could go around again, I don’t think there’s any question about that.

“But I’m choosing to retire and I’m pleased about that.

“It has gone through my mind, but I want to finish this year and move on to a new challenge.”

The ideal scenario would be for Peacock to help Rhinos to another Super League title in his final game.

“I’d love to do that, but there’s three other teams standing in our way,” he said.

“I’ll be doing everything in my power to make sure we get to Old Trafford and have a crack at doing that again.”

Peacock’s latest Dream Team selection came despite strong competition from props including Castleford Tigers’ Andy Lynch and Grant Millington and Warrington Wolves’ Chris Hill.

He said: “I always try to play consistently and give an eight or nine out of ten performance every week and I think I’ve done that again this year.

“My aim this season was to play well in the games that matter. When you look at our games in the Challenge Cup, I think I’ve delivered in that and also played well against the teams I think are the best sides really – the top five or six – and think my performances in those matches have been as good as

they have ever been. I’ve enjoyed this year again.”

Peacock was first selected for the Dream Team in 2000, when he played for Bradford Bulls.

He added: “That was the most memorable, I think.

“I’d had my breakthrough year in 1999 and there was no second season syndrome – and Jason Robinson was

in the first one which shows how long ago it was!”

Meanwhile, coach Brian McDermott has confirmed second-rower Stevie Ward is likely to miss Friday’s game, after suffering a knee injury in last week’s win at Huddersfield Giants.

Ward, who had a scan yesterday, is using crutches and has his damaged leg in a protective brace.

McDermott said: “I don’t think he is going to be right for this week and we will have to look at next week.

“He, I and the club will do everything we possibly can to get his knee right.”

McDermott said there were no other major injuries from last Friday’s game.

This year’s First Utility Super League Dream Team is: Zak Hardaker (Leeds Rhinos), Jermaine McGillvary (Huddersfield Giants), Kallum Watkins (Leeds Rhinos), Michael Shenton (Castleford Tigers), Joe Burgess (Wigan Warriors), Danny Brough (Huddersfield Giants), Luke Gale (Castleford Tigers), Alex Walmsley (St Helens) , James Roby (St Helens), Jamie Peacock (Leeds Rhinos), Zeb Taia (Catalans Dragons), Liam Farrell (Wigan Warriors), Adam Cuthbertson (Leeds Rhinos).

Stevie Ward.

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