Leeds Rhinos: No fears for Ward as he gets ready for return to Huddersfield

Stevie Ward
Stevie Ward
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RESURGENT LEEDS Rhinos forward Stevie Ward can exorcise some demons tomorrow.

RESURGENT LEEDS Rhinos forward Stevie Ward can exorcise some demons tomorrow.

Rhinos will take on Huddersfield Giants at John Smith’s Stadium 51 weeks after Ward suffered the biggest setback of his career so far on the same ground.

The 22-year-old sustained serious knee damage in the win at Huddersfield on September 25 last year which sealed the league leaders’ shield. He underwent three operations on the knee and minor shoulder surgery before returning to action earlier this month.

“I don’t know if it will be in the back of my mind,” Ward said of his return to Huddersfield.

“I think there will be some memories when I go back in the changing room about everything that happened.

“I’ll probably be thinking about the build up to the game and what happened after I was injured, but once I get on the pitch I will be fine. Once I get back into the cogs of the game and I start turning over, I will be all right.”

Tomorrow will be the third game of Ward’s comeback, after appearances off the bench against Salford Red Devils and Batley Bulldogs.

“It has been good so far,” he said.

“I am really happy. I’ve spoken to Mac [coach Brian McDermott] and the other guys and we knew I would not be hitting the straps I did in 2015, after such a long time out.

“I am just doing simple things and bringing a bit of energy to the team and some effort.

“A lot of the boys out there have played quite a number of games.

“For me it is about bringing something a bit different to the team and some energy.

“I am happy with doing that at the back end of this year and I am happy I have added to the team and provided a boost.”

Ward said returning this year was a huge boost to his hopes of being back to his best in 2017.

“If I had looked back on these 12 months not having played, I would have been a bit upset,” he said.

“So to get some game time and get some muscle memory back, it is going to stand me in good stead for next year.”

With their place in Super League secure, Rhinos as a team are also looking to build some momentum and confidence for pre-season

Ward said: “There’s two games left and we want to send a message to say that we’ll go into next year a bit stronger and a bit more gelled together.

“We want to go into pre-season strong.”

Rhinos under-19s are also in action tomorrow.

They face Wigan Warriors at Edge Hall Road, Orrell, in an academy league semi-final (2pm).

Meanwhile, a trophy will be up for grabs when Rhinos take on Leigh Centurions in the sides’ final game of the season at Headingley Carnegie next Thursday.

Sky Sports have donated the prize in honour of former Leigh and Leeds great Bev Risman, who will be a guest at the game.