Leeds Rhinos targeting Catalans Dragons game for Stevie Ward comeback

Stevie Ward is tackled by Joe Greenwood and Sam Powell of Wigan Warriors.
Stevie Ward is tackled by Joe Greenwood and Sam Powell of Wigan Warriors.
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THE HOME clash with Catalans Dragons on August 9 has been pencilled in as Leeds Rhinos forward Stevie Ward’s possible comeback match.

Ward started in Rhinos’ first four games of the season, but has not played since suffering a knee injury away to St Helens in February which required surgery.

Stevie Ward.

Stevie Ward.

He had hoped to return against Catalans at Emerald Headingley on June 30, but another knee operation put his comeback on hold.

Interim-coach Richard Agar said Ward won’t be available for Friday’s game at Huddersfield Giants, but added: “Fingers crossed, he might be next week.

“He has got some protocols to get through before then and obviously we have got to see how he goes in training, but he will have a chance of the Catalans game.”

Agar stressed: “We are not being too presumptuous at this moment in time.

“There’s some important training sessions between now and then, before we can confirm that.”

Richie Myler will be available this week following a one-game ban and Rhinos came through their defeat by Hull eight days ago with no new injuries.

They had no game at the weekend when Super League took a break for the Coral Challenge Cup semi-finals.

Leeds’ players had three days off, but were back in training last Thursday to begin preparations for Friday’s crucial four-pointer.

They will go into the game third from bottom in the table, two points and one place behind Giants. Rhinos are level on points with the sides below them, Hull KR and London Broncos, but a win this week could lift them as high as eighth.

The pressure is mounting with only six games left to beat the drop, but Agar insisted: “We know we have to knock some wins off, but we are not travelling like a team near the bottom of the league.

“We are fit, we are healthy and we are positive.

“I feel we are a really together squad.

“We are training well and playing well in parts, but we are just making too many errors.”

The Hull defeat came after Leeds had hit back from 12-0 and 20-6 down to lead by four points.

Agar insisted lessons have been learned. He said: “A couple of questionable penalties hurt us, but there are certain parts of our game we have got to nail better.

“We had a couple of poor kick chases, we gave a couple of penalties away for offside which were dead set offside and we had chances to stop the winning try on the lead-up play.

“But I thought, on the whole, we showed some really good energy on attack and we limited their field position in the second half.

“I thought we caused them some problems.”

A penalty landed by Marc Sneyd proved the difference. He also converted Hull’s crucial fourth try from the corner after Leeds’ new marksman Rhyse Martin had landed four successful kicks from as many attempts, three off the touchline.

“What a great exhibition of goal kicking it was,” Agar said.

“It is very tough to be on the wrong side of a two-point result, but both kickers landed pressure kicks, difficult kicks.”