Jones-Bishop ready to step in and take world title shot at Manly


Click to follow
The Independent Online

Ben Jones-Bishop is standing by to reclaim his first-team spot in the game that could make Leeds world champions.

Jones-Bishop, a regular in the Rhinos' Grand Final-winning side last season and a member of the England squad in the Four Nations, has lost his place on the right wing this year to Lee Smith. Smith injured his ribs in the defeat by Wigan on Saturday, however, and his coach, Brian McDermott, described his chances of being fit for the World Club Challenge against Manly on Friday night as "slim". He is prepared to give Smith until the 11th hour, but he has confidence in Jones-Bishop.

"I'm not saying he'll definitely play, but if he does he'll be doing everything in his power to hang on to the shirt," McDermott said.

He is optimistic of the chances of Kallum Watkins, who missed the Wigan game with a wrist injury.

Manly have given a clean bill of health to David Williams, the winger known as The Wolfman. The Australian international's career was threatened by a neck injury and then a foot problem. "He's passed a test on that and he's fit and raring to go," said the Manly coach, Geoff Toovey.

The Sea Eagles have just three players missing. Michael Robertson and Shane Rodney, who have joined the London Broncos, and Will Hopoate, who has left to be a Mormon missionary for two years.

The game is heading for a 21,000 sell-out and Leeds' chief executive, Gary Hetherington, said the match will generate more income than any ever staged at the ground.