Menzies excited for derby clash

Steve Menzies expects Leeds Rhinos to bring out the best in Bradford Bulls when the great rivals meeting in Thursday’s Engage Super League derby at Headingley Carnegie.

Neither club has yet set Engage Super League alight in 2010 but the richly experienced Bradford forward believes both the Bulls and Rhinos will turn on the style in front of a bumper West Yorkshire crowd.

“Both sides have been a little bit up and down this year and injuries have taken a toll but when it comes to a derby form rarely counts for much and I wouldn’t be surprised if this match was a real cracker,” said the Australian back row.

“Leeds are a quality side, you only have to look at their achievement in winning Grand Finals in each of the last three years, so it’s going to be a big effort to beat them. It’s always a big clash here and I’m looking forward to it.”

The 36-year old is a veteran of some massive derby matches in the NRL but believes that the contests Down Under do not come close to matching the intense rivalry of those in the Engage Super League.

“I think the derbies over here are bigger because the supporters, crowd and the teams live for derbies,” he said. “There are more derbies over here than back in Australia, so that’s one of appeals of coming to England to play.”

Menzies holds the joint record for appearances in the NRL with 349 games and, in the twilight of his career, is aware how much impact Rugby League has had on his life.

The former Australian Test star said: “The young kids keep you competitive. I think you’ve got to be that type of person to play this long, especially with the last couple of years I’ve played.

“You really appreciate a lot more what you do for a living and the job that we have.

“I think when you’re 18, 19 up to 22 you run around and you don’t really appreciate how lucky you are to play a game you love and get paid for it.”

Menzies is in remarkably good shape after playing at the highest level for 16 years and though he is keen to keep playing in the big derbies, the Manly legend is taking nothing for granted.

“I don’t believe anyone thinks ‘This is my last big game’ whoever you’re playing,” he said. “I think you just appreciate that what we do, enjoy each week and the competition we have out there.

“It’s going to be hard to think about your life without Rugby League because it’s been such a big part of it. It can be a little bit tough knowing that you won’t be playing every week. It’s hard for a lot of players when they do finish not to have that competitive spirit, it’s a big change.”

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