6th October 2017, 13:15 | Leeds

Ward cleared for Grand Final action

Ward cleared for Grand Final action

Leeds Rhinos forward Stevie Ward has been cleared to play in Saturday's Betfred Super League Grand Final, just a week after dislocating his shoulder.

The 23-year-old back rower spent last Friday night in hospital after sustaining the injury in the Rhinos' semi-final win over Hull FC and went into theatre on Saturday morning to have the shoulder relocated.

He was expected to be ruled out of the Old Trafford clash with Castleford Tigers but was encouraged by positive scans and, after being named in coach Brian McDermott's initial 19-man squad, passed a fitness test at final training on Friday morning.

Ward said: "I am delighted to be involved tomorrow night.

"There was a dark few hours a week ago as I thought my season was over but I would like to say a massive thank you to the nurses, doctors and specialists who helped me.

"Our physio team at the Rhinos, Andy Barker and Ben Harper, have been brilliant with me this week to make sure that I am ready for a game as intense as a Grand Final.

"As a team, we are determined to make the most of the opportunity in front of us and produce our best performance of the season tomorrow night against a very good Castleford side."

McDermott said: "We are all aware of the highs and lows Stevie has faced during his career and each has made him into the character he is today.

"He has remained positive since last week and, having seen specialists, he has been cleared to play.

"Stevie has had to pass every test we have put in front of him, which he has done, because he would not want to put the team at risk just so he could be at a Grand Final, he wants to play an integral part in the game for us."

Ward, who missed Leeds' 2015 Grand Final win over Wigan Warriors with a knee injury, is now hoping to be named in England coach Wayne Bennett's 24-man World Cup squad on Monday.

Ward's remarkable powers of recovery matches that of Castleford scrum-half Luke Gale, who played in his side's semi-final against St Helens last Thursday, just 16 days after having his appendix removed.

Another Castleford player, prop forward Craig Huby played in the 2014 Challenge Cup final against Leeds just a fortnight after dislocating his elbow.