Leeds ready to give Eastwood starring role

Wednesday 27 January 2010 13:16

Leeds coach Brian McClennan is ready to field Greg Eastwood in the defending champions' Super League opener on Friday even though the back-row forward has missed the club's entire pre-season programme.

Former Brisbane Broncos star Eastwood has still to be given a clean bill of health after sustaining a wrist injury playing for New Zealand in last season's Four Nations Series.

He is set to go for another scan but fellow New Zealander McClennan is upbeat the World Cup winner will face Welsh outfit Crusaders in this season's Super League opener at the Racecourse Ground in Wrexham.

"We're getting a scan done but we're pretty confident the specialist will say Greg is able to play," said McClennan.

"There's no indication of any trouble with his wrist. It's precautionary. He's been training with us and training really well," he added.

"He's an international and has played the last two international series. He's able to get around the pitch the same as the rest of the lads.

"We're all looking forward to seeing him play."

Meanwhile, St Helens captain Keiron Cunningham hopes to bow out on a high this year by bringing the Super League title back to the Lancashire club in his farewell season before retirement.

The 33-year-old Welsh international made his Saints debut aged 17 in 1994 and, having twice delayed his departure from the 13-man game is confident this will be his last campaign.

And with the likes of James Roby and Scott Moore competing for his hooking position, Cunningham is convinced his timing is right.

"This is definitely my last season," Cunningham said at yesterday's Super League launch in London. "Young Scott has come back and Robes is chomping at the bit.

"They're ready to take over so this is a year for me to help with the transition, give a bit of guidance.

"I feel that they are the best nines in the country and will be the best nines in the country for the next few years so Saints are blessed again."

"I know Robes can play a few positions. It gives us more options. If we get a few injuries, it might mean all three of us on the field at the same time."

St Helens skipper Cunningham has suffered the disappointment of being on the losing side against Leeds in the last three Super League Grand Finals.

"I remember Paul Anderson finishing with a Grand Final win and I'd love to do the same," Cunningham said. "I feel we've got a good enough squad to do that."

Sourced from: The New Zealand Herald

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