Leeds Rhinos: Leeds legend Mags will become a Robin
DEPARTING CAPTAIN Danny McGuire says he is relishing his next challenge - but insists he remains fully focused on a glorious Leeds Rhinos swansong.
Hull Kingston Rovers have confirmed the signing of McGuire on a two-year contract beginning next season.
The announcement came less than a week after McGuire revealed he had turned down an option to remain at Rhinos next year.
The move to East Yorkshire will see McGuire reunite with former Leeds team-mate Jamie Peacock who is Hull KR’s football manager.
Ex-Leeds men in Rovers’ current squad include Nick Scruton, Shaun Lunt and Chris Clarkson who were all Grand Final winners alongside McGuire – as well as Rhinos academy products Robbie Mulhern and Thomas Minns.
With the Robins currently in the Kingstone Press Championship the move is a gamble for McGuire, who will join them even if they don’t win promotion this year.
But he said: “As soon as I spoke to JP and [coach] Tim Sheens and everything had died down with Leeds it seemed the right fit.
“Obviously Tim is experienced and the ambition of the club is to hopefully get back to Super League this year and if not I will be part of the journey to try and get back the year after.
“Leaving Leeds it had to be something that was going to be a challenge and something that excited me.
“That was the fit really, but I want to stress how determined I am to finish this year on a high and keep playing well for Leeds, then I will focus on Hull KR at the end of the season.”
Peacock’s last game for Rhinos was a Grand Final victory two years ago and McGuire is aiming to bow out the same way.
He will be 35 in December, but reckons he is still capable of making an impact at the top level next year.
“My body still feels really good and I still feel like I am contributing to the team,” McGuire said.
“I still feel like I’ve got a lot to give, but I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it.
“It is going to be different because I’ve only ever driven to Kirkstall or Headingley, but I think the challenge and going out of my comfort zone will be really good for me.”
Sheens reckons McGuire - who has touched down 262 times in 414 appearances for Leeds and is Super League’s top try scorer - will “really add to our squad for next year”.
He said: “He’s had a few clubs looking at him, but I think he liked what he heard about us and the things we spoke about.
“We’ve had a good chat about how we see things and we were totally honest regarding our situation for next year, which wasn’t an issue for him.
“He’s a quality player who’s still playing good football this season. He also adds a lot to the club in terms of the value he brings with the media and sponsorship, plus his experience on the field.
“He’s got plenty of that and it will be brilliant for our younger half-backs to have the chance to work with him.
“The spine of your team is always the most important and with the likes of Danny and Shaun Lunt in there, we’re looking pretty strong in that area.
“Danny will be a big part of that. He has got a lot to offer, but hopefully he learns something new with us as well. He thinks he will and I do too.”