FOLLOWING THREE knee operations and one on a shoulder, forward Stevie Ward has been named in Leeds Rhinos’ squad for the first time in 11 months.
Ward’s last game was the Super-8s win at Huddersfield Giants on September 25, 2015, which clinched the league leaders’ shield. The 22-year-old back-rower resumed training this week and replaces Brett Delaney (dislocated kneecap) in the initial 19 for tonight’s visit of Hull KR. Adam Cuthbertson and Ashton Golding are vying for a recall, but Brett Ferres (ankle) is an injury doubt.
Rovers will field a much stronger side than the one beaten 24-20 by Leeds last month. Mitch Allgood, Chris Clarkson, James Donaldson, Shaun Lunt and Iain Thornley could all feature after missing the final regular-season game.
Leeds Rhinos: from T Briscoe, Watkins, Moon, Hall, McGuire, Burrow, Galloway, Cuthbertson, Jones-Buchanan, Ablett, Ward, Sutcliffe, Singleton, Garbutt, Keinhorst, Achurch, Golding, Ferres, Segeyaro.
Hull KR: Allgood, Blair, Clarkson, Cockayne, Donaldson, Greenwood, Kelly, Larroyer, Lawler, Lunt, Mantellato, Marsh, Minns, Mulhern, Sio, Thompson, Thornley, Tilse, Walker.
Referee: Phil Bentham (Warrington).
Kick-off: Tonight (8pm).