FIRED-UP Leeds Rhinos forward Brett Delaney is “hungry” to finish his frustrating season on a high – and has defeating the Super League leaders for a second successive week in his sights.
The abrasive second-row marked his return from injury by helping bottom-placed Leeds win 20-15 at table-topping Hull FC on Friday.
Wigan Warriors replaced the Airlie Birds in pole position after beating Wakefield and they arrive at Headingley tomorrow night with Rhinos keen to repeat their own success.
“They have got a good pack and a big pack,” said Delaney, about the side Rhinos defeated in last year’s Grand Final.
“We’ll stand toe-to-toe with Wigan and definitely won’t take a backward step that’s for sure.
“They’re a physical side and being a forward that’s all your game is based around – physicality. I’d like to think I am a physical player and love those one-on-one battles you get against Wigan.
“It’ll be bouncing back here at Headingley on Friday night after a win so hopefully we can get a good crowd and put in another performance. I’m looking forward to it. Hull had a big pack on the weekend and we did a good job on them.
“Our defence this last month has really improved. It’s a pity it’s a bit late but we’re building for the Middle Eights and it’s been great watching the boys transform recently.”
Delaney has played just 11 times this campaign due to a variety of injuries and missed more than a month of action following a groin strain before returning against the Black and Whites.
But the 30-year-old quickly got back into the action and said: “It was good. I probably pushed myself too much this year especially and it backfired.
“But I’ve been a bit smarter with my training, and the club’s probably helped me back a bit more this time around, and it’s paid dividends.
“I got a little bit of game-time on the weekend, didn’t push it too much and came through sweet so I’m happy with that.”
Delaney, who has won everything there is to win with Leeds since joining from Gold Coast Titans in 2010, conceded he is delighted to be back in the mix.
“It’s been great coming back, even just into training, as I’ve been on the sidelines a lot and it’s a bit of a lonely place,” he explained. “So to be around the boys and that team morale has really boosted me and made me hungry. I want to finish the season off really well now as do the rest of the boys and coaching staff. We know this season hasn’t gone to plan and, personally, I’ve not been part of many games.
“But the boys fought hard to come back from behind at Hull who were top and are a good side. So it just shows when we put 80 minutes together we can win games and win against the best. We’ll look to build on that again and Wigan will be a good test.”
Danny McGuire and Brett Ferres are still both sidelined by foot injuries for Friday’s fixture, but Ashton Golding returns to the 19-man squad having performed well for Featherstone last week, and James Segeyaro is poised to make his home debut.