LONG-TERM CASUALTY Stevie Ward could be part of Leeds Rhinos’ squad for tomorrow’s visit of Catalans Dragons, though he won’t be among their matchday 17.
Ward is back in full training and hopes to warm-up with the team before kick-off with an eye to making his playing return against St Helens next week.
The 25-year-old forward has not played since suffering a knee injury when Leeds lost at Saints in their third game of the season, six months ago.
He confirmed: “I am going to try and warm-up and just be a part of the squad, but I think it might be next week when I play.
“It will be good to be back involved and go through the swing of things. We’re using the new changing rooms [in the North Stand] and it’ll be nice to be part of that as well.”
Ward had hoped to be in contention for Catalans’ previous visit, on June 30, but a second operation put his comeback on hold.
“I am back in full training, more or less, now,” he said. “I am trying to top up my fitness and tick my boxes. I have been out for quite a while so I imagine adrenalin might play its part in the first game back, but then there’s a bit of time to the next game down at London and I’ll be working hard to try and make sure I am in good shape going forward. I want to do my best for the remaining games.”
The visit of Saints comes the week before Coral Challenge Cup final weekend when Rhinos are without a game. Ward added: “As long as I can make the Saints game and put a good performance in I can look to improve after that, I am feeling pretty positive.
“It has been longer than I wanted or expected it to be and I just want to get out there and help the team. As of the last game we are in quite a good spot as a group of players and it’s something I want to be involved in.”