GRAND FINAL hero Stevie Ward is confident of being fit for Thursday’s Elland Road clash with Hull KR.
But Rhinos will be without new signing Nathaniel Peteru who has a biceps injury and could be sidelined for up to 12 weeks if surgery is required.
Ward dislocated a shoulder eight days before last year’s Betfred Super League title decider, but played the full 80 minutes at Old Trafford.
He later had an operation, did not feature in pre-season and sat out last Thursday’s round-one win at Warrington Wolves, but is now in full training and said: “I am confident.
“We had a combat session which has given me a lot of confidence in my ability to play Thursday, so all being well I should be all right.”
He added: “The shoulder is good, it is feeling stronger day by day. The stuff I’m doing in the gym and the re-hab and getting into full contact is a big tick. Putting yourself in front of 110kg guys is something you have to do, but once you tick that off in your mind it is happy days.”
Meanwhile, coach Brian McDermott revealed Peteru suffered a “busted biceps” during his Super League debut against Warrington Wolves last Thursday.
“We are having it checked out to see the extent of it,” McDermott said.
“He won’t play on Thursday. If he decides not to get it operated on and he’s allowed to – the surgeon says you can carry on without it being op’d on – he’ll probably still have two or three weeks to let it settle down, then carry on.
“If he has to have it op’d on he will be 12 weeks out.”
McDermott said Peteru is “unlikely” to feature in next week’s World Club Challenge, but could travel to Australia if the injury “settles down”.