McDermott fears Ward suffered torn calf in Leeds defeat
Leeds Rhinos forward Stevie Ward may have suffered a torn calf in their World Club Challenge humbling to Melbourne Storm, head coach Brian McDermott has revealed.
The Super League champions started brightly and led through Ryan Hall's score, but it was all one-way traffic from then on and Melbourne took advantage as Ward and full-back Jack Walker bowed out injured in the first half.
McDermott felt the injuries were pivotal in the defeat and he is now hopeful of quick recoveries for both players, although he does not know the full extent of Ward's ailment.
"[Walker's] cartilage has torn and it has locked so he will have to have that cleaned up," the Rhinos coach said. "It might be a couple of weeks so it is not a major op.
"Stevie looks as if he has torn his calf but I do not know to what extent.
"They were two really important positions to lose. Stevie is a hugely influential forward for us and then, when you lose your full back, you have to make an amount of changes."
While the injuries had an impact, McDermott acknowledged the class of Leeds' opponents as they accelerated out of sight in the second half.
"While we never had a grip of the game in the first half, it was a decent contest," he said. "But the errors we made killed us a bit and it gassed us.
"Their defence was outstanding and that's why we really struggled. It was suffocating. No matter what we tried, they were smothering. Their defence was awesome."