super league leaders Leeds Rhinos will miss veteran Jamie Jones-Buchanan during his injury lay-off, coach Brian McDermott has admitted.
Jones-Buchanan has already been ruled of Rhinos’ Good Friday trip to Castleford Tigers and the Easter Monday home derby against Wakefield Trinity Wildcats after suffering a hamstring injury in the 38-22 win over Catalans Dragons three days ago.
He is ever-present for Rhinos so far this year and McDermott said: “We are not sure of the extent of it yet, but he is still very sore. He is having some tests done, but he is going to be a couple of weeks at least. Hopefully that’s all it will be, but we don’t know just yet.”
McDermott added: “He has been great, an absolute star for us in the middle. You have to watch the game to appreciate how many involvements he has.
“He is somebody we will certainly miss. He gets through a lot of work for us and there’s a lot of quality in there as well – quick play-the-balls and some defensive efforts that normally involve saving tries and clearing up. Most coaches will say if you have 13 committed men you won’t lose many games and he epitomises commitment to us. His workrate is going to be sorely missed.”
Hooker Paul Aiton suffered a dead leg during the game in France, but McDermott said: “He should be all right. He is sore, we are treating that with caution at the moment. He is all right, but we are not pushing him at this stage in the early part of the week.”
Under-19s hooker Robbie Ward is currently out of action due to an ankle problem, but McDermott said: “Rob Burrow is an outstanding hooker as well, so we are confident in that position.”
Winger Tom Briscoe has undergone shoulder surgery and is on the long-term casualty list, but stand-off Kevin Sinfield (hamstring) and prop Kylie Leuluai (rib) have a chance of returning on Friday. McDermott said: “We’ll look at them later in the week. Kev’s still got some ongoing issues with his hamstring. He is confident he’ll be all right and available for Friday, but it is too early to make a call. There’s still something in there, some sort of neural issue to do with the top of his hamstring and his back. We’ll check on that, but if he doesn’t make Friday the likelihood is he will play on Monday against Wakefield. Kylie is similar. He has missed two weeks and that should have let the ribs settle. We’ll check later in the week.”
Forward Josh Walters, who was a travelling reserve, suffered a leg injury playing on dual-registration for Hunslet Hawks against Sheffield Eagles on Sunday. Stand-off Liam Sutcliffe, meanwhile, has received an RFL caution for dangerous contact on Morgan Escare during Saturday’s game.