HAVING SPENT almost 20 years playing alongside Danny McGuire, Jamie Jones-Buchanan will tomorrow spend the best part of 80 minutes trying to actually get hold of his former Leeds Rhinos team-mate.
He had intended to do just that the last – and only – time they met but was faced with very little real reward.
Granted, Hull KR stand-off McGuire ended up on the losing side when he took on Leeds at Elland Road in February but he managed to avoid too much attention from second-row Jones-Buchanan, with whom he won seven Grand Finals in their time together at Rhinos.
“I didn’t get hold of Maggsy as much as I’d have liked,” explained Jones-Buchanan.
“It was the first time I’d ever played against him, away from training at least.
“Beforehand I’d been saying what I was going to do to him – knock his head off and all that – but he was so elusive I never got near him.
He’s a fantastic competitor, a great player and is still a massive inspiration for me. He always will be.Jamie Jones-Buchanan
“He’s a fantastic competitor, a great player and is still a massive inspiration for me. He always will be.
“Maggsy’s a big part of who I am today and even though we’re not team-mates anymore that doesn’t change.”
Leeds prospered 20-11 in that last match, a result Rovers are desperate to turn around tomorrow in the reverse fixture at KCOM Craven Park.
Tim Sheens’ side are in real need of a victory given they have just three wins since earning promotion back into the top-flight.
But Jones-Buchanan, who made his 400th appearance for Leeds in last Thursday’s 19-18 loss at Hull FC, knows what to expect.
“I can go from our experience of playing them at Elland Road that night,” said the 36-year-old, as champions Leeds bid to avoid a third successive loss.
“They ran us really close that evening.
“They went 10-0 up and it was only towards the back end of the match that we eventually managed to get a try or two and get over them.
“But they gave us a hard fight. They came out of the blocks really fast and tested us. We expect them to do the same again on Sunday.
“They have a few players who have played at Leeds so there’s a few links and extra motivation there.”