Leeds Rhinos' Callum McLelland closing in on return to full training after injury nightmare

Injured Leeds Rhinos half-back Callum McLelland is hoping to be available for selection by the end of next month.

Tuesday, 22nd June 2021, 4:45 pm

Injured Leeds Rhinos half-back Callum McLelland is hoping to be available for selection by the end of next month.

The 21-year-old has not played this year, following ankle surgery and then a groin problem in pre-season.

He was not among the players who tested positive for coronavirus, causing Rhinos’ last two games - against St Helens and Catalans Dragons - to be postponed.

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Callum McLelland has not played since Rhinos' win at Wakefield on November 1 last year. Picture by Jonathan Gawthorpe.
Callum McLelland has not played since Rhinos' win at Wakefield on November 1 last year. Picture by Jonathan Gawthorpe.

But a 10-day spell when Rhinos’ Kirkstall training base was closed has allowed him extra time to recover and he is confident a recent back problem won’t delay his long-awaited return to action.

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“It has been one thing after another but, to be honest, it has been a bit of a blessing in disguise, having a couple of days break when I have been able to train, but not putting too much stress on my back.”

McLelland added: “It’s one of those things where it gets really sore for a few days and takes probably a week to settle down fully.

Callum McLelland. Picture by Bruce Rollinson.

“This period now has been rubbish because we’ve been missing games, but at least I won’t have to miss as many now as we will have to catch those fixtures back up.”

McLelland had recovered from his ankle surgery when the groin injury, a long-standing problem, flared up early this year.

That has now settled down and he predicted: “I’ll need to tick a few boxes with the physios and conditioners but, hopefully, I should be back into full training within the next few weeks.

“It’s probably a bit too early to say when I’ll be back playing but, hopefully, it’ll be by the end of next month. Hopefully, I can get a couple of weeks’ training under my belt and then be ready to go.”

More - Leeds Rhinos: Kevin Sinfield explains why Super League clash at Salford Red Devils should be moved to SundayCastleford-born McLelland joined Leeds from a stint in Scottish rugby union after the 2018 transfer deadline and made his debut the following year. He has played 11 games for Rhinos, scoring one try and is out of contract in November. No decision has been made on his future, but he insisted: “Contracts and stuff will take care of themselves when I’m playing.

“I was a bit worried at the start of the year, but now I’ve got a different outlook on it and whatever will be, will be.

“I’ve not been dealt a great hand, but I’ve got to try and make the most of it and, hopefully, when I’m back I can try and prove myself.”

Rhinos are now back in training following their Covid lay-off and keen to make up for lost time.

They have not played since a 60-6 win at Castleford four weeks ago, but are due to visit Salford Red Devils on Friday.

Though the virus, injuries and international call-ups have left coach Richard Agar struggling to raise a team,McLelland stressed the mood in the camp is upbeat.

“We’re all still in high spirits,” he said. “It has just been disappointing - especially when we’ve had some good weather - we haven’t been able to go in and train and chuck a ball about with your mates.

“It’s tough for the guys who’ve had to isolate, being stuck in doors for a couple of weeks.

“But I do think it will give us a bit of time to get troops back and for the lads who are injured to nurse their injuries a bit more.

“Hopefully it won’t be long before we have more or less a full side.”

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