YOUNG PROP-FORWARD Brad Singleton has received a vote of confidence from Leeds Rhinos coach Brian McDermott, despite being left out of the 30-6 win over Hull KR.
Rhinos went into the game with Jamie Peacock as their only experienced prop, playing alongside Brett Delaney who battled through Friday’s game despite a hamstring problem.
Delaney, who began his Leeds career four years ago as a centre, was switched from his regular position in the second-row because Ian Kirke (concussion) and Kylie Leuluai (calf) were still sidelined due to injury and Ryan Bailey and Singleton both dropped out from the team beaten at Wakefield Trinity Wildcats in Rhinos’ previous game.
McDermott said: “Ryan Bailey is not fit. He has had niggles and while he offered himself to play we/I made a decision he needs a week’s training before he plays.
“Brad Singleton wasn’t selected. I have got faith in Brad, I think he’s a good prospect, but he’s very young and he’s been doing a man’s job now for a number of weeks. Every now and then you’ve got to give these young fellas a week off. It’s not a black mark against his name that I didn’t pick him.”
McDermott added: “I thought Brett Delaney was fantastic, that was everything about him all rolled into that performance – brave and courageous and he was a thorn in their side all game.”
Rhinos suffered one new injury when Ben Jones-Bishop took a bang to a knee in what McDermott described as a “crazy challenge” by Rovers forward Rhys Lovegrove, who was also hurt.
“I am not sure he was doing it on purpose,” McDermott said. “But there’s rules about protecting people when they are looking to catch a ball.
“I know it is a collision sport and you are trying to deter the opposition from playing well by whacking them and hurting them, but there has to be a limit about what you try and do.
“You can’t just throw your body anywhere. He ended up taking himself out – it was just a crazy thing to do.”
Zak Hardaker is set to return for Thursday’s visit of Castleford Tigers after completing a five-game ban and McDermott said Jamie Jones-Buchanan (calf), Leuluai and Kirke could also be available. He said: “Kirkey got concussion in the Widnes game (on June 22) and it is a concern. He has had the scans and he’s having some more, so we’ll see what’s in there.”