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Doubting Danny
Posted by southstander on September 14 2006 - 14:36:40

Smokescreen?

Danny McGuire has been named in the Rhinos final eighteen for the first time since the home loss to Saints back in June. The Rhinos have been missing their talisman, and leading try scorer, having notched up four losses and only two wins in the six games that he has missed.

If, and it is a big if, Danny plays on friday night then he will have the leading try scorer for 2006 still firmly in his sights, trailing Catalans wingman Justin Murphy by just a single try. The leading try scorer is awarded over the regular rounds, so it will be a straight shootout between the two tomorrow night.

But will Danny actually play, having previously been named in Rhinos twenties but failing to make the final eighteen?

Shin splints are notoriously difficult to treat and often require long periods of rest an inactivity. With Danny's frequent inclusion in the twenty he obviously shows signs of recovery only to not quite make it. The problem with the injury is that it can show signs of having 'gone away' only to return at the first bit of hard running.

You get the feeling that failure to play on friday night, or Danny breaking down again during the game, will spell the end of his season as he will be far too big a gamble for the play-offs. Failure should also lead to the common sense decision from Danny and the Rhinos doctors for him to drop out of the GB squad for the tri-nations and ensure that he get a good winters rest and returns with full fitness for the start of Superleague XII.

Although the Rhinos have not looked like world-beaters for the last half of the season, you can't help but look at the similarities between the plight of the Rhinos this season compared to that which befell the Saints at the end of last year. In 2005 the Saints lost major players at the end of the season with Sculthorpe, Albert and most critically Sean Long missing the play-offs and seeing Saints miss out on Old Trafford despite finishing top. The Rhinos have lost McGuire, Poching and O'Neil at the business end of the season and it has shown in recent results, and may well dog us into the play-offs.

I hope that Danny can play tomorrow, I hope that he comes through the test with flying colours, and I hope that he still has a major role to play in Superleague XI. But I have a strong suspicion that his naming in the eighteen is just a smokescreen and we won't see him on the hallowed turf tomorrow night.

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