Leeds Rhinos: Dual reg’ an option for recovering pack star

Brett Delaney
Brett Delaney
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a dual-registration stint at Hunslet Hawks could be Brett Delaney’s route back into Leeds Rhinos’ senior side.

The Australian second-row was the only Rhinos player not to play in pre-season and he has missed their two First Utility Super League games so far.

Delaney underwent knee surgery at the end of last season and then damaged an ankle during Rhinos’ training camp in Florida, but is now back in full training.

Rhinos came through the victories over Hull KR and Widnes Vikings with no serious injury concerns and coach Brian McDermott admitted a way needs to be found to get Delaney ready for top-flight action.

“He has been given the thumbs up to train with us and that has been the case for the last week or so,” McDermott said.

“If he is available for Giants (Rhinos’ next match against Huddersfield, a week tomorrow) we will manage him through that.

“But bearing in mind he has not run at all throughout the whole of pre-season, there is a fair bit to look at with him.

“Even though he is biomechanically fit, we need to get him fit.”

Rhinos have an arrangement with Hunslet which allows for players who are not getting game time at Leeds to turn out for the Kingstone Press Championship side.

Prop Rob Mulhern played in Hawks’ opening defeat against Featherstone Rovers two days ago and McDermott said: “It would be an option (for Delaney).

“That is something we have considered. They are in the division below Super League this year so the games are going to be competitive.

“It depends which team you are playing against, but some of the games in that league won’t be far behind Super League so that could be a very good tool for us to use.”

Rhinos are without a game this weekend, when Super League takes a break for the World Club Series.

McDermott’s men have momentum behind them following back-to-back wins, but the coach said the free weekend is not a concern.

“I don’t think it matters,” McDermott said.

“I think if it was after seven or eight rounds we might be able to look at the break and say it was either a help or a hindrance, but after two rounds it’s not an issue.

“I think everyone’s still in that phase of their season where they are still fixing things up, correcting things, getting things right and getting things to where they want to be. It just gives people a week where they can do a lot more than they normally would do.”

Kylie Leuluai missed last Friday’s home opener against Widnes after being taken ill during the warm-up, but is expected to be available for the Huddersfield game.

“I should imagine we will have some things to encounter as the season goes on, but it’s always good to be in this position early in the year,” McDermott said of Rhinos’ clean bill of health.