LEEDS RHINOS captain Danny McGuire expects to face an on-song Wakefield Trinity at Headingley this week.
There is a much happier feeling in Rhinos’ camp following last week’s 46-10 win over Catalans Dragons, which came just eight days after a record 66-10 drubbing at Castleford Tigers, but McGuire knows Wakefield will also be in upbeat mood and looking forward to visiting a ground where they have enjoyed recent success.
Wakefield won last year’s Super League derby at Headingley and claimed the spoils in the past two Boxing Day match-ups. With the visitors having successive wins under their belts, McGuire reckons Rhinos will have their hands full.
“They’re good, they are a good team with some good players and they’ve got a very strong squad,” McGuire said of Trinity. “I’ve watched them a couple of times and they’ll come here fired up.
“Why wouldn’t you want to come here and play? It’s the best place to play in the game and they’ll want to come here and get a result so we’ll need to have the same attitude this week.”
That improved attitude was illustrated last Friday when Rhinos refused to let their heads drop after being reduced to 12 men for a quarter of the game – and 11 briefly – after Adam Cuthbertson and then Jimmy Keinhorst were sin-binned for separate incidents.
“The commitment was good,” McGuire reflected. “I would never question the commitment of the lads. We’ve got a great, honest set of lads and we work hard for each other. We had a bad day at Castleford, but we’ve put that to bed now and it was pleasing to have a really committed performance.”
McGuire’s try against Catalans was his first in a competitive match since the 2015 Grand Final, but he stressed: “It was the result and performance that’s most important and doing my bit for the team and making sure everybody has a smile on their face and not moping around.
“It was nice to get a try, but across the board I thought everybody was good and it was really enjoyable out there. We’ve had one good performance after one bad one and we’ve got to build on that. We’re not going to put the cue on the rack and say we’re back where we want to be.
“We have to keep working hard and keep preparing well. Baz and Plumey (assistant-coaches Barry Eaton and Chris Plume) put a lot of work in with the lads last week and they deserve a lot of credit – defensive stuff and offensive stuff. The lads worked hard and it was good to get back on the horse, but we have to prepare as well as we can for Friday.”
The Catalans game was McGuire’s fourth since his return from injury. After just 13 appearances last year it was going to take him a while to regain his form, but he said: “I feel good. Last Friday was probably the best I’ve played for a while. I just want to do my bit for the lads and the team and enjoy being part of the team and keep working hard and turn up ready to go this week.
“We want to play well every week. I have always tried to wear the shirt with pride and I want to play well every time I put the jersey on.
“Sometimes you have your bad days, but everyone’s committed to the cause, we will go again this week and we are preparing as well as we can for Wakey.”