Kirke insists he is ready to play, says McDermott

 

 

Leeds Rhinos coach Brian McDermott has revealed that Ian Kirke demands to play in his side’s play off match despite suffering from serious concussion recently.

Kirke was caught up in a clash of heads with Luke O’Donnell in Sunday’s match against Huddersfield Giants. The accident saw O’Donnell being dismissed from the field of play by referee Thierry Alibert, while Kirke left the field on a stretcher.

McDermott also revealed that the Rhinos second rower stopped breathing briefly, but Kirke got discharged from hospital five hours later and has almost fully recovered. 

But McDermott isn’t taking a risk with the player’s health.

He said:“He is a tough fellow, not many people would go through what he did and to come back 18 hours later and say ‘I’m ready to play, coach.’ It proves he is a tough hombre.”

“He has a procedure to go through, and get through a few training sessions while the physio and the doctors go through a bit of a routine before he plays again.

“Should he pass all of that then he will be available to play. But we will make a decision at the end of the week whether he plays or not.”

The Leeds boss has been surprised at the speed of recovery Kirke has taken, and defended O’Donnell and understood how the match officials came to the conclusion they did by sending the Huddersfield player off.

McDermott said: “Kirke is as good as we would expect after a serious clash of heads. There was nothing sinister from O’Donnell but he did catch him on his head, and caught his chin in the sweet spot.

“It was a bit of a bizarre period when they called him back onto the field to send him off again, but it was a clash of heads and in defence of the referee O’Donnell’s arm swung out afterwards and I suppose that’s what they homed in on.”

 

 

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