Leeds Rhinos hopeful over fitness of key man Matt Prior for St Helens clash

LEEDS RHINOS are sweating on the fitness of prop Matt Prior ahead of this week’s visit to Betfred Super League champions St Helens.

By Peter Smith
Sunday, 19th June 2022, 4:55 pm

Prior suffered what All Stars coach Ellery Hanley said was “quite a bad sternum injury” just 15 minutes into Saturday’s 18-4 defeat by England in the mid-season international.

He was in obvious discomfort on the sideline, but initial indications afterwards were the damage was not as severe as first feared.

Speaking after the game, Prior said he could have gone back on if needed.

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HOPEFUL: Leeds Rhinos' Matt Prior came off after 15 minutes when playing for the Combined All Stars against England at the halliwell Jones Stadium on Saturday. Picture by Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com

“We have got a short turnaround, we play Thursday night, so I haven’t got many days to get it right,” Prior said.

“But the way it’s feeling now, I think I should be all right so I am happy about that.”

Hanley admitted it would not have been right to risk making the injury worse by putting Prior back on for a second spell.

“I know how hard [sternum injuries] are to get rid of,” the Leeds and Great Britain legend said. “It would have been unfair of me to try and squeeze him back on to the paddock.”

CONCERN: Combined All Stars head coach, Ellery Hanley Picture by Simon Wilkinson/SWpix.com

“He was playing brilliant for us before he came off. He was a stalwart for us, I thought he handled his position well at lock and did everything I asked of him, but I think a player’s health and welfare is more important than trying to win a footy game.”