SKIPPER Danny McGuire admits he will have to rein himself in as a new era begins for Leeds Rhinos.
McGuire will lead Rhinos out as permanent captain for the first time tonight when they open the Super League season at home to Warrington Wolves.
The 33-year-old has taken over from Kevin Sinfield – who held the role for 13 seasons – and knows he will have to modify some of his behaviour on the field.
“As a half-back you are almost a captain anyway,” McGuire said. “I am quite bossy and I am used to bossing the lads about, but I realise I have got a bit more responsibility.
“I will have to be a bit calmer at times, but that is my personality. I play with quite a bit of passion and I am proud to play for this club, but I also realise I might have to rein it in at times.
“I am not going to change too much, just enjoy it. I have got plenty of players around me who are experienced and understand it, so I will be getting a lot of help along the way.”
McGuire admitted he does sometimes get carried away in the heat of battle.
“I am competitive and I want to win,” he stressed. “I want our team to win all the time and sometimes you get a bit carried away with things.
“I realise now I have probably got to set a bit more of an example around the lads; I can’t be losing my head as much.
“But I am not going to try and change too much, just do my role in the team. Everyone has got their own way of going about things.
“I am going to try and do it my way, realising I have picked up a lot of great things that Kev has done along the way.”
McGuire added: “I don’t feel too much pressure. There’s pressure every time you pull the shirt on at Leeds, so whether you are captain or not I don’t think it makes much difference.
“There’s pressure to perform every week, especially when Mac [coach Brian McDermott is breathing down your neck].
“I am more excited than anything. There’s a bit more responsibility this year, but nothing I can’t handle.”
McGuire supported Rhinos as a youngster and admitted tonight will be a proud occasion.
“It is a real privilege to be able to captain the club, especially being a local lad,” he said.
“It is a massive honour and I am in a privileged position to be able to lead the lads out. I am following big footsteps, with what Kev did and achieved for the club.
“I am going to do it my way and hopefully it will be another successful year.”
Rhinos won every available honour in 2015, but McGuire insisted they have to improve to be among the contenders this season.
“It was only in the last second at Huddersfield that we managed to get the league leaders’ shield and we only won the Grand Final by two points,” he pointed out.
“They are fine margins – it could have gone the other way and we might have only won one trophy.
“We realise the competition is going to be tougher this year and we need to improve. We can’t stay where we are.
“We have talked about that all pre-season. We can’t be happy with what we did last year, we have to try and improve again and that’s something we are all working hard to try and do.”
Elsewhere, Warrington’s Australian half-back Chris Sandow admits he will have a point to prove tonight.
Sandow endured a nightmare start to his Super League career when his new club crashed to a 49-10 defeat at Leeds in the opening match of the Super 8s last August and he came in for much criticism as the Wolves went on to drag themselves over the finishing line in sixth place.
“It was tough but that was last year,” Sandow said. “People have their opinion on players and I had my fair share (of criticism). It was just hard coming into a great club like Warrington halfway through the season and trying to play to your ability.
“I didn’t know their footie style and stuff like that but they know how I play now. I feel a lot different.
“I’ve got an off season under my belt with the boys and I feel a lot different and a bit more comfortable.”