LEEDS RHINOS’ injury situation has worsened with captain Danny McGuire ruled out of tomorrow’s visit of Hull due to a recurrence of a quad problem.
McGuire suffered knee damage in Rhinos’ opening game of the season, two months ago and his comeback was delayed by a quad injury sustained in training, but he has played in their last two matches.
Brett Delaney (hamstring) and Jimmy Keinhorst (calf) could return tomorrow, but Ryan Hall (ankle), Tom Briscoe (shoulder), Joel Moon (groin), Adam Cuthbertson (biceps), Stevie Ward (knee), Josh Walters (ankle) and Brett Ferres (calf) remain on the casualty list.
With Delaney facing a late fitness test, 17-year-old Cameron Smith, who was 18th man at Salford last Saturday and has been training full-time over the Easter period, is drafted into the initial 19 for tomorrow’s game.
McGuire’s injury is another huge blow for Rhinos, who are second from bottom in First Utility Super League and have lost eight of their opening 10 games.
The captain will watch from the sidelines, but admitted tomorrow is a must-win match, despite the champions’ injury woes. He said: “We need to win some games – putting it simply we need to go on a run now and put ourselves back in the mix.
“It is not going to be easy, the competition’s tough and our opponents this week are on a good run. They are playing really well so it is difficult. The competition is getting tougher and we need to start performing loads better to turn it around pretty quickly.
“We aren’t really thinking about the table. I don’t think looking too far ahead would be the right thing at the minute, we just need to concentrate on what we have got in front of us this week.”
McGuire felt there were some positive signs in last Saturday’s 14-10 loss. He added: “I thought we did a few things all right against Salford.
“We made a few breaks. There were still a lot of poor things in there, but we showed a bit of character in defence. They scored two soft tries, but other than that I thought we were pretty comfortable. We had a few opportunities we just couldn’t manage to turn into points and that’s how it is at the minute.
“Teams are working hard and want to beat us and want to stop us scoring tries, so we need to find a way to combat that. We are not able to do that at the moment.
“It is frustrating. We work hard all week and we want to go out and play well and we want to win. Losing is not good, it’s not enjoyable coming in on a Monday and reviewing when you’ve not won, but we will keep at it, we’ll stick together and we’ll keep going.
“I don’t want to make any excuses, but we just want to get people on the field and get some competition for places.
“Even on the training field we aren’t able to compete because we haven’t got the numbers at the minute, but that’s all ifs and buts and excuses. We have got to play better on Friday night.”