Leeds Rhinos: Injury-free McGuire gets green light

Danny McGuire
Danny McGuire
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CAPTAIN DANNY McGuire will aim to put eight weeks of frustration behind him tonight.

CAPTAIN DANNY McGuire will aim to put eight weeks of frustration behind him tonight.

McGuire is set to return from injury when Leeds Rhinos play host to Hull KR in a crucial battle at the bottom of First Utility Super League.

The half-back has not played since suffering knee damage in Rhinos’ opening defeat by Warrington Wolves on February 4.

He was due to return a fortnight ago, after being named in the initial 19 to face St Helens, but missed out due to a calf injury picked up during training.

He was also in the squad for last week’s defeat at Castleford Tigers, but said he is confident of finally getting the green light tonight.

“I’m hoping to play, as long as everything goes to plan,” McGuire confirmed.

“Hopefully everything will be fine.

“My knee’s fine, that was the frustrating thing.

“I worked really hard with the physios, who were brilliant, to do everything right and tick all the boxes. When I did it they said it was an eight-week injury and after six weeks, if it wasn’t for the calf strain, I’d have been ready to go.

“It has given my knee a bit longer, another couple of weeks, to get right – which I suppose is a positive.”

McGuire described his spell out

as “frustrating”. He said: “It has been a tough time, I want to be back playing. I have missed too many games for my liking and I just want to get back out there and help the lads.

“It has been tough watching, but hopefully I can get back out there and do my best and help get a good result for the team.”

McGuire was made captain in the off-season and said that had made his lay-off even more painful.

“I was really determined to lead the lads well this year,” he stressed. “To get injured in the first 30 minutes of the first game was not what I’d planned.

“But that’s sport, I have had plenty of good times and plenty of ups and downs. I have done everything I can to get back as quickly as possible.”

Rhinos are third from bottom, one place above Hull KR, with just two wins from eight rounds. Without McGuire they are the lowest scorers in the competition and sit three points outside the top-eight and six behind the semi-final places. We wanted to pick some points up over Easter and if things had gone differently, we weren’t too far away,” McGuire said.

“But performances are miles away and we need to get better. Games are coming thick and fast and we’ve got chance to get out there and put things right. That’s the plan for Hull KR.”

Rovers have had seven losses, with a win and a draw and McGuire warned: “They have had a lot of injuries and some key players missing, but their recent performances have shown they are really playing for each other and fighting for the jersey.

“They’ll be determined to get the points and that makes it dangerous for us, but it is a really crucial game. We need to start turning the corner and picking some points up now. I am really confident in the group we’ve got, but if I am honest, our form is nowhere near good enough and we have really got to improve our performances.

“We are nowhere near where we need to be, but I believe the players we’ve got are capable of going on a good run and picking up a fair few points.

“It’s a challenge and one I’m looking forward to.”

Meanwhile, Rhinos boss Brian McDermott has confirmed he will continue as the United States’ head coach for next year’s World Cup in Australia, New Zealand and Papua New Guinea.