HE IS synonymous with the blue and amber but, as he prepares for his 400th game for Leeds Rhinos tonight, Danny McGuire admits he never expected to get close to such levels.
The former Great Britian stand-off, who has won seven Super League titles and two Challenge Cups with his hometown club since debuting in 2001, will lead his side at Warrington Wolves for the milestone moment.
Rhinos captain McGuire, 34, conceded: “It is a really special achievement.
“I feel really proud and pretty humbled to be able to say I have done 399 now.
“It might sound a bit cheesy, but every one is special in its own way.
“Being a Leeds lad I have never taken it for granted, wearing that shirt.
I’ve obviously had a good career and really enjoyed being part of such a great club with so many great players along the way. When you make your debut that’s the first box ticked. Anything after that is a plus.Danny McGuire
“I’ve obviously had a good career and really enjoyed being part of such a great club with so many great players along the way.
“When you make your debut that’s the first box ticked. Anything after that is a plus.
“I have seen so many players come and go who you think could potentially play 200-300 games for the club and they don’t last two minutes.
“So to be able to be at the club for such a long time and play in such a crucial position as well, I feel really proud and hopefully I’ve got a few more games left in my legs now.”
Having won the treble in 2015, Leeds spent much of last season bottom of Super League, a fate that has now befallen last year’s League Leaders’ Shield winners Warrington.
Led by McGuire’s former Rhinos coach Tony Smith, they lost their opening six league games before finally getting off the mark with a hard-fought draw against Hull FC on Saturday.
For their part, Leeds are flying, a four-game winning run silencing the critics after a record-breaking loss at Castleford earlier in the campaign led many to sound the death knell once more.
On Warrington, McGuire said: “When you are losing it’s tough; it’s mentally more draining than physically.
“But I looked at their team against Hull and said to myself, ‘how can they be at the bottom of the league with the players they’ve got. They’ve a great team and brilliant coach in Tony Smith and Richard Agar as well. They’ll bounce back for sure. I just hope it’s not this week, but obviously we can sympathise.
“We went through it last year, but will be trying to go there to make it even worse for them.”