Leeds Rhino’s head coach Brian McDermott has been given mixed news regarding three of his injured players ahead of the new Super League season. As ever, Leeds will be backed by a number of Betfair fans, but the Rhinos will face another tough season, with the likes of Wigan, St Helens, Huddersfield and Warrington all looking strong ahead of the new campaign.
While Ryan Bailey and Brett Delaney are both expected to be fit in time for the Rhinos season opening clash at Hull KR, Ian Kirke looks set be forced to undergo an operation to fix a long-standing rib problem.
Bailey was forced to miss Leeds’ Boxing Day friendly draw against Wakefield Wildcats with an Achilles problem while Australian forward Brett Delaney was forced from the field with a chest problem. McDermott has confirmed that both players are now expected to be back in contention for the trip to East Yorkshire for the club’s first game of the new season.
“Bails will be good. Because of the injury he had last year he was very keen to play on Boxing Day and it was a shame he couldn’t make it. (Delaney) got some damage to a rib at the top of his chest, so that was very painful to him, but in terms of long-term damage he should be okay.”
Although the news isn’t so positive for Kirke, who now looks set to have a plate fitted for his rib injury.
“He (Kirke) is going to have a plate fitted. He had a rib injury last year and he played with it. He has a crack in his rib and we hoped the joint would have knitted together. It has, but not as well as it could have done.”
After finishing the 2013 Super League season third in the table, Leeds went on to fall at the semi-final stage of the playoffs to end their hopes of defending their title. While the six-time Super League champions are among the favourites to make it to the Grand Final this season, McDermott will know that this year’s Super League could well be the toughest in years.
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