Leeds Rhinos: There’s a lot more still to come from Ablett – Mac

Carl Ablett
Carl Ablett
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Five-time Grand Final winner Carl Ablett has yet to reach his peak, Leeds Rhinos boss Brian McDermott says.

Five-time Grand Final winner Carl Ablett has yet to reach his peak, Leeds Rhinos boss Brian McDermott says.

The 28-year-old England centre/back-rower will make his 200th appearance for Rhinos at home to Widnes Vikings on Friday, if he recovers from a knee injury.

Ablett made his Leeds debut a decade ago and has been a regular in the team since 2008, when he made his first start.

His total so far includes 162 appearances in the starting line-up with another 37 as a substitute, the most recent of those four years ago.

He has played in all Leeds’ Grand Final wins other than the first in 2004 and is also a two-time World Club Challenge winner.

“Two hundred games is a good effort,” McDermott said. “He is progressing very well, Carl.

“His standing within our team and within our game continues to grow. He has still got a bit to go, he is not the finished article and there are still some bits he would like to add to his game, but he is certainly a very valuable member of our team.”

Ablett will become the eighth current Leeds player to have made a double century of appearances for the club.

Winger Ryan Hall (who has played 197 times for Leeds) and currently injured prop Ian Kirke (196) are also closing in on the milestone.

A knee injury suffered in the first half of last Friday’s 12-12 draw at Huddersfield Giants could delay Ablett’s 200th appearance..

McDermott said: “Abbo has a slight twist to his medial. He has not trained [yesterday], but we are not writing him off for Friday. We will give him until later in the week.”

The coach added: “Brett Delaney got a decent whack to his sternum, but he trained [yesterday] morning with us and we will monitor him later in the week.”

Delaney’s injury is a recurrence of a problem suffered earlier in the year. McDermott said: “He aggravated it in the warm-up before Friday’s game.

“It is one of those nuisance, niggly things that I don’t think will prevent him from playing, but we will have to monitor him.”

Back-rower Chris Clarkson and prop Ryan Bailey were left out of the side to face Huddersfield, but McDermott said neither is injured.

Jamie Jones-Buchanan is in contention to face Widnes after coming through his first game of the season, after knee and calf injuries, unscathed.

“He had a good impact on the game,” McDermott said. “He had a great game score in our stats, for somebody who’s been out for such a long time.

“He gave us 50-odd minutes of good-quality stuff.”

Forward Mitch Achurch was an unused substitute at Huddersfield.

McDermott declined to explain the reason behind that, but he said: “It is just something we decided not to do.

“We have done it before, it’s not the first time we’ve done that. When something happens during the game or with your interchanges that means it has a knock-on effect on who you can and can’t put on.

“There was nothing sinister in it, it was just a decision I made not to put him on.”

Meanwhile, Rhinos centre Kallum Watkins has rubbished reports he is set for a big-money move to rugby union.

Watkins said: “There’s nothing in it, it’s just rumours that somebody’s started.”

Richie Myler kicks ahead at Hull FC.

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