Wigan boss offers Leeds advice

Former Melbourne coach Michael Maguire has identified three Storm forwards as major threats to Leeds Rhinos ahead of the Gillette World Club Challenge at Elland Road on Sunday February 28.

Maguire, the head coach at Wigan Warriors, spent five years at Melbourne as assistant coach before his move to Engage Super League at the start of the season and is well aware of the danger which they pose to Leeds.

The Australian believes Ryan Hoffman holds the key to Melbourne’s ambitions after the second row starred in Australia’s successful Gillette Four Nations campaign.

Maguire said: “Ryan’s an enormous figure in the Melbourne team. He has great presence about him and offers not just a lot in terms of his playing ability but also his leadership and experience both as a State of Origin and international player.

“He is still relatively young, but he brings a lot to the Storm in both attack and defence and he is a great team man. Ryan’s the sort of bloke that never lets you down.”

Lining up alongside Hoffman in the pack are Kiwi powerhouses Jeff Lima and Adam Blair, both of whom Maguire believes will have a strong impact when facing the Engage Super League champions.

“Jeff’s a very, very good front rower. He brings a lot to the team with his enthusiasm, fitness levels and he’s a real workhorse in the team. There’s a lot of work that Jeff does that is probably unseen.

“He’s also pushing off the ball and working for his team-mates so he’s another great team player for the Storm.

“Adam is very versatile and can play either the front row or the back and he’s got great footwork and an ability to offload. He is defensively very strong and he can hold is own against the very best,” said Maguire.

The fixture is a repeat of the 2008 World Club Challenge and Maguire is hoping that there isn’t a repeat of the treacherous weather conditions that hit Elland Road last time around in a game that saw Leeds Rhinos win 11-4.

“The Melbourne players have been training in 35-degree heat so let’s hope for decent weather. Having said that they are obviously preparing as best they can and doing everything possible to be at their best.

“From the people I’ve spoken to at Melbourne, they are looking forward to coming over here and flying the way they can.”

Tickets for the Gillette World Club Challenge at Elland Road on Sunday February 28 (6.30) are now available with prices starting from £20, or £10 concessions.

To purchase tickets from the RFL Ticket Office please visit www.rugbyleaguetickets.co.uk or call 0844 856 11 13.

Tickets are also available from the Leeds Rhinos Ticket Office at Headingley Carnegie Stadium or by calling 0871 423 13 15.

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