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Title Charge is Unlikely for McGuire but Hull KR Move an Enjoyable Challenge

Title Charge is Unlikely for McGuire but Hull KR Move an Enjoyable Challenge

Thursday 11 Jan 2018 8:24pm

The 2017 Super League season ended emphatically, with Leeds Rhinos upsetting the odds by toppling Castleford Tigers in the Grand Final, despite Daryl Powell’s side dominating the competition over the course of the year. Of course, the Tigers were to ultimately fall at the final hurdle, where they were on the receiving end of a Rhinos masterclass at Old Trafford.

Danny McGuire produced a classic performance from half-back, with the veteran playmaker rolling back the years like never before, producing arguably his finest display since the 2015 Grand Final, scoring twice and adding two drop goals to his tally to humiliate the Tigers, who had beaten Leeds four times over the course of 2017.

It was the perfect way for McGuire to bow out of Headingley, with the 35-year-old leaving the Rhinos, the only club he has ever played for, to link up with Hull KR ahead of the 2018 campaign. The scrum-half and stand-off is expected to see see out his career at KCOM Craven Park over the next two years.

McGuire’s challenge at KR will be different, with it highly unlikely that the Robins will be competing for the Super League title; it is more likely that McGuire will find himself tasked with helping to guide the club to safety on their top-flight return.

It will be a change for McGuire, who has eight Grand Final victories to his name, with Hull KR amongst the favourites for relegation. Accordingly, the Robins are also underdogs in their opening game of the 2018 Super League season, with the early rugby league betting markets installing Wakefield Trinity as 4/5 favourites to pick up the two points.

That in itself will be a change for McGuire, who over the course of his 15-year career at Headingley was often part of a team that were favourites to win trophies, as well as individual matches.

McGuire has altered his game in recent years, transforming himself from a supporting half-back, into one that can run the game, conserving his energy, just as he did in the Grand Final. A transfer to Hull KR shouldn’t mean McGuire will have to adapt his style again, with Tim Sheens likely to put his faith in the experienced half to manage games, just as he has done during his twilight years with the Rhinos.

Perhaps what McGuire will have to adapt most to is not winning every week – something that he has become accustomed to during his time with the Rhinos. However, the 35-year-old was involved in the relegation scrap with Leeds during the 2016 campaign, when Brian McDermott’s side failed to qualify for the Super 8s and were left fighting for their Super League status late in the season, with only a late winning run saving the club.

That season will hold McGuire in good stead heading into his new challenge at Craven Park. Whilst the former Rhino will be disappointed at the prospect of not challenging for the Super League title, he has every reason to be excited about the 2018 season, which presents the half-back another opportunity to show what a talent he is on a very different stage.