Brian McDermott has paid testament to Jamie Jones-Buchanan ahead of his 400th appearance for the club.
The veteran second-rower will reach the milestone in the club’s Betfred Super League clash with Hull FC on Thursday night, 19 years since making his debut for the club.
His remarkable career has seen him win eight Grand Finals, three World Club Challenges and two Challenge Cups during the Rhinos, and McDermott, who played against the 36-year-old at the backend of his playing career, was lavish in his praise for the back-rower.
“For him to reach 400 is massive,” he said.
“He must have been playing 27 years or something. I played against Jamie.
“When the three were here, Leuluai, Peacock and Sinfield, Jonesy was still a special member of the squad. You couldn’t imagine the team or squad without him. He was never just another soldier. He always had that leadership in him. But he never got chance to show it, he didn’t need to show it.
“Since those three have retired and especially over the last couple of seasons he’s been fantastic. You want to have some comfort as a coach that whatever you give them hopefully works, but that some blokes in the team can implement it as well.
“JP was like that, he was like having a coach on the field at training. Jonesy has some of that about him now. He has a certain reverence and presence about him mainly because if there’s a tough tackle be made he’ll be in the mix.”
The man himself has admitted he has yet to decide whether he will carry on beyond the end of the season, but McDermott admitted he’d be open to him extending his career to another season.
“I think when he’s running down the field and his leg drops off and he has to turn around go and get it, that’s when he’ll retire.
“His arm will drop off or his foot will be the other way. He’s loving it. He’s playing really well and I’m not after retiring him. If he wants to say it is his last year that’s up to him, but if he wants to go again there’s a conversation to have. I don’t think anyone would disagree with that, especially with the wave of talent we’ve got with the young fellas. They all benefit from having Jonesy in the team.”