Leeds Rhinos’ tough Aussie forward Brett Delaney is confident of being available for Friday’s crunch trip to St Helens.
Delaney – man of the match in the previous win over Widnes Vikings – was rested last week, when Rhinos crushed London Broncos 54-6.
But the back-rower insisted: “I’ll be back this week. I was probably fit to go last Friday, but they made a call a couple of days before to give me a bit of a rest and make sure I’m right for this one.”
Delaney has collected a series of bumps and bruises this term, but it was a foot problem which kept him out of the London clash.
“My ankle was swollen,” he said. “I hurt it in the game before, but other than that I was all right. I carried on playing with it anyway, so I would have been all right.”
This week’s game will see the two remaining unbeaten sides in First Utility Super League go head to head.
Saints are top of the table with six wins from six matches, a point clear of Rhinos, who have won five and drawn one.
“I am looking forward to it and I know all the boys are,” Delaney said. “It will be a good test for us to see where we are at.
“We have been building, but this is a game when we’ve got to show what we are made of. They are playing well and they haven’t lost, neither have we, so hopefully we can get a good performance on Friday night and get a win.”
Saints have some outstanding young outside-backs, but also boast a big and powerful pack.
Delaney admitted Leeds’ forwards will need to stand up and meet fire with fire.
“There’s been a lot of talk about their pack this year and how dominant they’ve been,” he said.
“It is a big personal battle for myself and the rest of the boys.
“But I would not swap any of our boys in our pack for any of them. I am really looking forward to it.
“It will be a big, physical game, especially in the middle. Saints always play a forwards’ sort of game, so there will be a lot of traffic coming our way.
“They have got some big forwards, but our boys are up for it and I’m sure we can go there and get a result.”
Saints have scored 16 more points than Rhinos this year, but Leeds boast a better defence, having conceded only 52 points, 34 fewer than this week’s rivals.
“We are going well,” Delaney said. “We have got a world-class backline, but if the forwards don’t get on top they won’t get the joy they have been getting.
“Friday is going to be a big test for our forwards against a bigger pack, but I’ve no doubt we can match them.”
Rhinos boss Brian McDermott confirmed players rested for last week’s game will be available on Friday.
And he revealed centre Joel Moon has “a chance” of featuring, just a fortnight after suffering a potentially serious hamstring injury in the win over Widnes.
“There’s a few going to come into contention this week,” McDermott said.
“Jamie Peacock and Brett Delaney will be available and Joel Moon will be there or there abouts.
“We are not sure if he’s going to be right.
“He is still likely to miss, but he has an outside chance and he hasn’t been completely ruled out.
“Kevin Sinfield comes back into contention too, as does Tom Briscoe.”
The media were told on Friday that Ryan Bailey was ill, but McDermott said: “He wasn’t ill, he was not selected.”
Saints boss Nathan Brown is also relishing this week’s showdown.
He said: “It will be a tough game. I thought at the start of the year Leeds were the team to beat and nothing I’ve seen has changed my mind.
“Wigan have replaced their personnel well again, Huddersfield and Warrington have probably started a bit different to the previous year and they are all hard teams to beat, but Leeds look like quite a classy side and their backline is exciting.”