LEEDS RHINOS forward Brett Delaney has extra incentive to be fit for the start of the season.
Rhinos begin their First Utility Super League campaign a month today when they visit Hull KR.
And that could see them go up against former team-mate Ryan Bailey on his competitive debut for the East Yorkshire club.
Bailey made 313 appearances for Rhinos from 2002-2014, winning six Super League Grand Finals, the World Club Challenge three times and featuring in last year’s Challenge Cup triumph.
Delaney and Bailey are close mates – known by fans as the Bash Brothers – and the Leeds second-rower said he is relishing a crack at his former colleague.
Delaney underwent knee surgery in the off-season, but said he’s determined to be fit for round one. “We’re up against him in the first game of the year, so it will be good,” Delaney said.
“We will definitely lock horns out there. The two of us are like brothers, so what happens on the pitch stays on the pitch, but no doubt we will come together on the pitch in that first game.
“Hopefully all the Leeds fans will turn out and the Hull KR fans as well.
“I know it will be a good game and obviously with Bails going there and him being my best mate, it will make it interesting – I can’t wait for it.”
Bailey had a year left on his Rhinos contract, but was released last autumn after being told he would not be a regular in the team this year.
Delaney reckons the move could restart Bailey’s career.
“He is enjoying it,” Delaney said of Bailey’s new start.
“They have got a young squad and it is a different challenge for him.
“He was at Leeds a long time and it will be good for him.
“There’s a few of them who travel, so he’s enjoying that.
“He’s working with [coach] Chris Chester, which he says is great and [ex-Leeds player and assistant-coach] Willie Poching is there now, so that’s good.
“It is a fresh start for him and I think it can rebirth his career and kick him on.
“He is a legend at Leeds and he can continue that legacy over there, hopefully.”