LEEDS RHINOS’ Australian forward Brett Delaney has vowed to prove “the haters” wrong.
Delaney is due to make his comeback from injury when Leeds Rhinos play host to Wakefield Trinity in Monday’s Wetherby Whaler Festive Challenge.
It will be the 31-year-old’s first game since suffering a dislocated kneecap away to Featherstone Rovers in August.
That was the final setback in an injury-stricken season which saw Delaney make only 15 appearances, but the three-time Grand Final winner insists he is far from a spent force.
“There’s a lot of haters out there, telling me to retire,” Delaney - who walked from the field at Featherstone - said.
“But I know myself and I am far from done yet and I want to prove people wrong.
“It is something I love doing, putting a jersey on for the club.
“It is something I am looking forward to and it starts Boxing Day.”
Delaney admitted: “There’s a lot of people over there who have doubted me over the last probably eight months with injuries and stuff, but they don’t know what goes on.
“It is frustrating when you walk around at the street or you are at games and people are saying stuff.
“I have bitten my tongue for long enough and it’s time to prove them wrong.”
Delaney did not require surgery on his latest injury and has been in training since pre-season began early last month.
He insisted the knee is “fine” ahead of Monday’s opening trial game, when he is set to start in the second-row.
“I’ve had five knee operations and I dislocated my kneecap,” he said.
“People don’t know what us rugby players go through on an everyday basis.
“That’s why it’s hard when people make the odd comment about stuff.
“I am thick skinned so I just laugh at it, but I would love to prove them wrong and I am going to do it.
“I don’t care what they say really, it just drives me more to prove them wrong and to come back. I am far from done.”
Of pre-season, Delaney said: “I have been in seven weeks now and I haven’t missed a session.
“It is my first pre-season since I’ve been here so I am really happy with my body and how that’s going.
“I am feeling good, feeling fresh. Obviously it was disappointing this year that I couldn’t get on the pitch, but I am fully committed to making amends for it.
“On a personal level I have got a lot of things I want to achieve and I still know I have got a lot to give to this club to repay my teammates, the coaches and obviously the fans.
“This year was shocking on a personal level.