Leeds Rhinos: Delaney eyes up Wembley cup final record

Brett Delaney
Brett Delaney
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AUSSIE FORWARD Brett Delaney is confident of being fit to extend his Cup final record.

Delaney missed Leeds Rhinos’ win over Wigan Warriors last week due to a hamstring problem and has not been included in the initial 19-man squad for tomorrow’s trip to Hull.

But he said he expects to be available for the Wembley showdown with Hull KR in nine days’ time, when he is set to extend his record of most Cup final appearances by an Australian.

“I’ll be all right,” he said of his Wembley prospects.

“I was touch and go this week, but obviously with the big game next week it’s the smart decision, I think.

“I don’t want to push it too much, I want to be included in the game next week.

“I ran [yesterday] and it felt all right.

“I’ll run again on Friday and then go from there.”

Delaney played in Rhinos’ 2010, 2011 and 2012 Wembley defeats, before finally bagging a winner’s medal 12 months ago.

He said: “It was great last year and I want to play next week, so I’ll just take it steady.”

Delaney’s father is travelling from Australia for this year’s final and the 29-year-old is determined to make it a special occasion.

“I didn’t go home last year, because I was having an operation, so I haven’t seen my family for a couple of years,” he said.

“My dad flies in next week and I’ve got a mate who’s coming over this week.

“It will be good to have friends and family there at Wembley.

“My dad came a few years ago, when we lost, but he didn’t come over last year.

“It’s a long way to travel; my mum and dad see the odd game on TV, but other than that they don’t get to watch a lot, so it will be good to have the old boy over here.

“It will be good to catch up with him and spend some quality time with family.

“That’s number one to me, so I’m looking forward to it.”

Boss Brian McDermott has named a strong initial 19-man squad for tomorrow, including most of Rhinos’ big guns, but without centres Kallum Watkins and Joel Moon.

Rhinos lost the game before three of their last four appearances at Wembley, but Delaney said they will be going all out to win and protect their four point lead at the top of the First Utility Super-8s table.

“We want to be more consistent, after last year when we fell away,” he said.

“We haven’t spoken about it, but there’s a bit more emphasis on being more consistent in Super League.

“It is a different format this year and you have got to be consistent every week. We want to finish on top and to do that we have got to keep winning.”

Meanwhile, Rhinos have agreed a partnership with Gold Standard Nutrition.

Commercial director Rob Oates said: “They are the nutrition partners for Leeds Rhinos, it’s a great product for the players and they will help with the development of our fitness programme over the coming months and years.”