Danny McGuire will be heading to Headingley for the first time as a head coach on Friday night when he goes back to his old stomping ground.
The former Leeds Rhinos halfback spent the majority of his professional career playing at Headingley, winning a total of eight Super League Grand Finals, two Challenge Cups, three World Club Challenge Championships and three League Leaders’ Shields.
McGuire made over 400 appearances for the club between 2001 and 2017, before spending two seasons at Hull Kingston Rovers at the end of his playing career.
Since Tony Smith’s departure as head coach, the 39-year-old is now KR’s interim coach with current Newcastle Knights assistant Willie Peters being appointed on a three-year deal from 2023 onwards.
Ahead of Friday night, McGuire spoke about returning to Headingley as head coach for the first time.
“In a way it does mean a little bit more,” McGuire said.
“When I played against Leeds I wanted to win and get stuck into them and that’s a similar approach regarding coaching.
“I want to prepare the team as well as possible and ensure we are in a good spot to play well.
“I’ve always had that connection with Leeds which can never be replaced or lost. Growing up in the city and everything that comes with it but my connection at the minute is with Hull KR.
“I am part of the fabric here, if you had asked me that when I first left Leeds I probably would have answered it differently. The club has changed from when I was there and there aren’t many of the same players there and if I’m honest I don’t feel too much of a connection there.
“I’m really enjoying my role here and it’s just exciting times. I loved my time there but things move on and my chapter now is to do my best for Rovers.”
Of course, this fixture is also big in another way too; as the fight for the Super League play-off heats up, the Rhinos are one point above Rovers in sixth position with a plethora of Super League rivals battling it out at the business end of the season.