McGuire: ‘Captaining Leeds to a Grand Final win would be extra special’

Danny McGuire says captaining Leeds Rhinos to a Grand Final victory in his final game with the club would be extra special.

The former Great Britain and England star will move to the newly-promoted Super League side Hull Kingston Rovers for 2018.

But the 34-year-old made his debut for the Rhinos back in 2001 and has been a key man in the team ever since.

And with Leeds meeting Castleford Tigers in the Super League Grand Final at Old Trafford on Saturday, McGuire says it would be a fairytale ending to his Leeds career.

“I remember that Kev (Kevin Sinfield) always used to speak about he was just representing the team and always used to play it down,” said the 2015 Harry Sunderland Trophy winner.

“But I think to be able to go and lift that trophy must be such a special feeling. Lifting it second is brilliant but to be the captain and leading the team up must be extra special.

“It would be an honour and privilege to do that but realising there is a bit of hard work before we get an opportunity to do that so leading the boys out is going to be a special occasion, without a doubt.

“Leeds are a big club and to be captain of the club is a huge honour and a big task. When the team is not going well, there is quite a lot of pressure on you but I’ve loved it. I’ve loved leading the lads this year, it’s been a privilege and to do it on the biggest stage this week will be special.”

McGuire has been a fan favourite at Headingley Carnegie for well over a decade now and played at the ground for the very last time as a home player in Leeds’ semi-final win over Hull FC last week.

And the Rhinos Academy product admitted it was nice to go out on a high there.

“Obviously with the South Stand not there as well, it felt strange!” he added.

“It didn’t feel like we were playing at Headingley, it was a weird atmosphere but I suppose all good things come to an end at some point and next year I’ll be turning left into the away changing rooms and that’ll be a strange experience.

“But I’ve got no regrets, I’ve loved every minute of it and to be able to win a semi-final and feel like I did after the game on Friday, I was really happy with it.”

McGuire also revealed that he had offers to go elsewhere during his 16 years with the Rhinos, longevity not quite comparable to a bonus code.

But the Yorkshireman admitted that he just wanted to play for his hometown club.

“I had an opportunity to go to Saracens (Rugby Union) a long time ago, I think it was around 2005,” he added.

“But I was always happy, a bit of a homeboy and a Leeds lad. It sounded nice and I think whenever somebody is interested in you then your ego gets a little bit of a massage and it feels quite nice but I’ve always loved representing the club and my home city as well so I’ve never really taken anything like that seriously until this year.

“Again, there were a couple of little opportunities (in the NRL) but it was never anything I followed. When you are part of a successful team and you’re winning and you are involved in that winning culture then it’s hard to leave somewhere like that.”

McGuire came all the way through the ranks with Rob Burrow and the duo will pull on the Blue and Amber jersey for the final time on Saturday at Old Trafford, kick-off 6pm.

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