Leeds Rhinos legend Danny McGuire talks 'perfect' Challenge Cup win, answers key question on Hull KR plans
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McGuire is assistant-coach of the Robins who face Leigh Leopards in Saturday’s Betfred Challenge Cup final.
“As a performance, that is probably one of the best I have been part of,” McGuire recalled. “Everyone has a game plan and a way you want to play, but it’s not every often you nearly get it perfect in a big game.
“There’s always things that go against you, the bounce of the ball, but that day was close to perfection.
“Everything we set out to do we nailed, defensively and with the ball. I don’t think we will see that scoreline again in a final. Hopefully, with my Robins hat on now, we are on the different end of the result this weekend.”
McGuire noted: “Zak [Hardaker, another ex-Leeds player] is part of their team and Hally [Hull KR’s Ryan Hall] was on the other wing from Tom that year.
“He didn’t get any ball that day, so he won’t have been happy. There’s some really interesting subplots and I think it’s good for the competition.
“Teams like Leeds, Wigan, Saints, Warrington and Hull have dominated the competition so to see two new teams there who haven’t had much success in the Challenge Cup is really good and someone’s going to write their place in history.”
Though Rhinos’ men didn’t make it this year, Leeds will be part of the big occasion when they face St Helens in the Betfred Women’s Challenge Cup final.
Rhinos are coached by McGuire’s fellow East Leeds product Lois Forsell. He said: “We’ll get there early so we’ll see some of the women’s game.
“Lois has done a great job. I will always have a soft spot for Leeds, that will never change, so I will be cheering the women on. I wish them all the best in that game.”
It was a shock to many Rhinos fans when McGuire opted to leave the club to join Hull KR, initially as a player, at the end of 2017, but reflecting on his new career, he insisted: “I have really enjoyed it.
“I probably thought I would stay at Leeds for my whole career, I never saw myself leaving, but it is nearly six years now and I have loved every second of it.
“Playing was tough, I was at the back end of my career and probably couldn’t do some of the stuff I’d have liked, but the coaching and seeing the club grow has been really special.
“There’s some really good things happening off the field - with developments to the ground and the academy - and we are increasing standards.
“Willie [Peters’ Hull KR’s coach] has been brilliant since he came in, pushing the club forward and I am really happy to be a small part of it.”
McGuire admitted he needed to take himself out of his comfort zone after so long at Rhinos. He said: “I’d been at Leeds since I was a kid and not seen anything else.
“To go away and learn and I suppose even grow up a bit - even though I was in my 30s - was a good challenge.
“I have enjoyed being part of the journey. Now we get to go and play in a big game and the players deserve it.
“They have worked really hard and they are a good set of lads, really enjoyable to coach - they all want to improve. I have enjoyed working alongside Willie and I enjoy going to work.”
So will McGuire ever make a permanent return to Headingley? “I don’t know,” he admitted. “You never know what’s around the corner in sport, but at the minute I am really happy.
“I enjoy the environment we’ve created at Rovers and I think there’s room for even further improvement. It’s an exciting time to be part of the club, so at the minute, probably no.”