Leeds Rhinos: Veteran star McGuire’s still looking to improve

Danny McGuire.
Danny McGuire.
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VETERAN LEEDS Rhinos half-back Danny McGuire says he is looking to improve in 2015.

McGuire, 32, is one of the most decorated players in the sport after completing a full set of domestic honours when he scored a try and kicked a drop goal in last season’s Challenge Cup final win over Castleford Tigers.

The Yorkshire Evening Post columnist has also won six Super League Grand Finals and three World Club Challenges, but said he still wants to get better.

“I am excited and looking forward to it,” McGuire said of the new season.

“Every year you want to start well and improve as a player.

“I just want to do my part for the team and as long as Mac (coach Brian McDermott) and the boys are happy, I will keep doing what I’m doing.

“I am still enjoying it and I still feel like I’ve got plenty more football left in me, so I’ll keep going and I am looking forward to the new season.”

With skipper Kevin Sinfield still recovering from knee injury, McGuire captained Rhinos in their 50-28 Boxing Day win over Wakefield Trinity Wildcats.

It was a morale-boosting start for Rhinos, who lost their last four competitive games in 2014 and haven’t won a Super League match since July.

“I think we were pretty happy with it,” McGuire said.

“It started a bit shaky, Wakefield came out firing and we were a little bit rusty on the edges defensively.

“But I thought we played some really, really good stuff and it was very encouraging for the stuff we’ve been working on in pre-season.

“It was a great turn out by the crowd and hopefully we put on a bit of entertainment for them as well.

“There were plenty of points and that’s what the Christmas game is all about.

“It is a traditional fixture which everyone enjoys and you want to try and entertain a little bit. I thought both teams for the majority of the game did that.”

But McGuire insisted there is still some hard work to do before Rhinos’ Super League opener at Hull KR on February 8.

“We aren’t getting carried away,” McGuire stressed.

“We are happy with the way things are going and I thought some of the younger lads went really well on Boxing Day.

“It is good experience for them going forward and I thought Cuthbo (new signing Adam Cuthbertson) looked very promising.

“Jonesy (Jamie Jones-Buchanan) and Stevie Ward were very good as well.

“I am expecting big things from Stevie this year and I think he is going to deliver. We have had a good first hit-out and we can rip in when we get back to training on January 5.”

McGuire partnered Liam Sutcliffe in the half-backs against Wakefield and he said: “I’ve enjoyed it every time we’ve played together. I think our styles work well together. Sutty is very much a runner and he likes to run the ball, he’s very powerful and very skilful.

“I think as a combination we go all right together and it worked pretty well on Friday.”

Of his own performance, McGuire said: “I didn’t expect too much. I just wanted to do my job for the team, have a few involvements and create a few opportunities for the lads.

“It was nice to get a try as well, so I was pretty happy, but I’ve still got a few more weeks’ hard work before the season begins.”