Leeds Rhinos: Mac has plenty of options for Challenge Cup semi

Brian McDermott
Brian McDermott
Have your say

BOSS BRIAN McDERMOTT will be spoiled for choice when he selects Leeds Rhinos’ line-up for the Ladbrokes Challenge Cup semi-final against St Helens on Friday.

Centre Joel Moon is expected to be available after missing Sunday’s 36-22 win over Catalans Dragons due to an Achilles problem and forward Stevie Ward has “a chance” of returning from an ankle injury, according to McDermott.

“He is all right,” McDermott said of Moon. “We rested him for a precaution more than anything.

“He has been carrying a bit of an Achilles issue for a number of weeks, so the rest has done him good.”

Ward, who has been in outstanding form this year, was hurt in Leeds’ First Utility Super League win over Saints exactly four weeks before the Cup clash.

It was initially described as a four-to-six-week injury and McDermott said: “We won’t make that call until later in the week.

“He is no more than 50-50, but with the form he has been in and the type of player he is, I want to give him until the 11th hour.”

McDermott confirmed Rhinos came through Sunday’s game with “a couple of bumps and bruises, but no big injuries” and Jamie Jones-Buchanan and Tom Briscoe reported no ill-effects following their comeback from long-term injury.

“It is good,” McDermott said of his squad’s return to health. You want to go into these big games with those options.

“If you are going into these big games and there’s nobody disappointed, obviously you’ve got an injury crisis.

“We don’t seek to upset people, but I would imagine there will be one or two upset people this week.”

Forward Mitch Achurch, who has been sidelined for two months following surgery on a wrist injury, is also close to being back in contention, leaving only Liam Sutcliffe (knee) on the long-term casualty list.