Leeds Rhinos’ captain Danny McGuire under no pressure over future

LONG ROAD BACK: Danny McGuire looks to break through the Widnes defence in July last year.
LONG ROAD BACK: Danny McGuire looks to break through the Widnes defence in July last year.
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LEEDS RHINOS captain Danny McGuire is not rushing into a decision on his long-term future.

McGuire is entering his 17th season in Rhinos’ senior squad, but is out of contract at the end of the year.

Stevie Ward.
 Picture: Bruce Rollinson

Stevie Ward. Picture: Bruce Rollinson

Now 34, he knows his time as a player is limited, but insists his priority at the moment is getting fit and playing well for Rhinos in their early-season matches.

“I’ll see where we’re at and sit down with Gary (Rhinos’ chief executive Gary Hetherington) and make a decision towards the back end of this year whether we go again or not,” said the seven-time Grand Final winner.

“I don’t feel any pressure, I just take every game as it comes and every day at training as it comes and then I’ll see where I’m at.

“I have played a decent amount of games in my career, but I didn’t play many last year and I still feel relatively fresh.

“It is unfortunate I tweaked my quad the other week, but other than that I feel really good and just want to have a real good dig at it this year with the lads.”

McGuire has been named in Rhinos’ initial 19-man squad for tomorrow’s opening Betfred Super League game at St Helens.

He played just once in pre-season, but was injured scoring a try in Rhinos’ win over Hull KR on January 20.

That meant he missed the trip to Featherstone Rovers seven days later, but he returned to full training this week and is confident he can put the disappointment of last year, when he was restricted to only 13 appearances, behind him.

The half-back, who was man of the match in Rhinos’ Grand Final victory over Wigan Warriors two years ago, said: “Pre-season has been really good, really enjoyable and we got plenty of tough work done.

“I feel really good. I felt really fit leading into the Hull KR game and then just picked up a little niggle.

“It’s nothing serious, just a bit of a quad strain, but obviously it couldn’t have come at a worst time.

“I didn’t miss a session all pre-season, did everything and then got a little niggle in the game.

“But that’s how the cards have been dealt.

“I would have liked to get another warm-up game under my belt and hit the ground running, but that’s the challenge and I am working hard to try and get back as quick as I can.”

The injury in Ryan Hall’s testimonial game was a blow for McGuire, but he stressed it will not derail his season.

He added: “It’s frustrating, but I have worked hard over the 10-12 weeks we’ve been back in and felt good and feel like I’m really going to have a good go at it this year, so one little blip isn’t going to set me back.

“I am too mentally tough for that. It’s just another challenge.

“I got back into full training this week and did a full session with the lads, but we have to make sure I’m right before I get back out on the field.”

Stevie Ward, who also featured in only one pre-season game – due to a knee problem –has been named in tomorrow’s squad, along with Joel Moon and Brad Singleton after they missed the Featherstone match with minor injuries.

Jack Ormondroyd and Jordan Baldwinson could back up after featuring on dual-registration for Featherstone last weekend, but Brett Ferres, Brett Delaney and Keith Galloway are on the casualty list.

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