McDermott praises Keinhorst – but Leeds suffer injury blows as they head to Melbourne

Leeds Rhinos coach Brian McDermott praised centre Jimmy Keinhorst as his hat-trick helped them preserve their unbeaten start to the Super League season – but they will head to Melbourne for the World Club Challenge without two key players following Thursday’s win over Hull KR.

The Rhinos won 20-11 at Elland Road to make it two wins from two, but the win came at a cost for McDermott and his side.

Prop Mitch Garbutt did not make the side for the game and he will not travel to Australia, while fellow front-rower Anthony Mullally suffered a fractured finger in the match, ruling him out of the trip.

And McDermott, whose side flew out to Australia on Friday morning, said: “The rest of the squad were told to bring their passports to the game, because who knows what will happen. Mitch will not be fit, and Anthony is going to miss out.”

The 19 players who will travel are the 17 – minus Mullally – who played against Rovers, plus Joel Moon, Josh Walters and Ashton Golding. Moon did not play against Hull KR due to a leg injury, but could be fit to face the Storm.

Keinhorst’s hat-trick, just 24 hours after being informed he would play on Thursday night, pleased McDermott – as well as the manner of how the centre initially handled being left out.

McDermott revealed: “He knew he was playing yesterday. When you do get a late call that doesn’t do you any favours, and you’re sulking like a sulky gorilla. But Jimmy has taken has chance with both hands. Full credit to him.”