Leeds lose Webb for final
Leeds suffered a major blow to their Grand Final hopes with the news that full-back Brent Webb has been ruled out with a back injury.
Last Updated: 06/10/08 10:11am
Leeds suffered a major blow to their Grand Final hopes with the news that full-back Brent Webb has been ruled out of the clash with St Helens.
The New Zealand international has suffered a recurrence of the back injury he picked up earlier in the season that forced him to miss three games, including the Challenge Cup semi-final against Saints in July.
Webb suffered a knee injury against St Helens a fortnight ago, but that injury had cleared up earlier this week and the club were confident he would be available for the Old Trafford showpiece.
Leeds coach Brian McClennan said: "We are all behind Brent at this time and he is bitterly disappointed to be missing out.
"We were confident earlier in the week that he would beavailable but then he suffered a reccurrence of the back injury in training.
"The last time he suffered it he was out for three to four weeks and it is worse this time. He has been a huge contributor to our team and to getting us to the Grand Final.
"It is probably the worst week in his sporting life. He is devastated to miss out on Old Trafford, having missed the semi-final earlier in the year, and also possibly representing the Kiwis in the World Cup.
"He has wished the boys all the best and he will have to watch the game at home because he is in so much pain that he can not even sit down in comfort.
"Our medical staff are working with him to help him as much as they can and he knows he has got our full support."
McClennan has no plans to added to his original 19-man squad, which means that Lee Smith is likely to switch to full-back with Ryan Hall coming into the side on the left wing.
The 22-year-old Smith, who was a tryscorer from the wing in last year's Grand Final, deputised for Webb at full-back in the Rhinos' League win over Catalans in Perpignan, as well as the Cup semi-final against Saints.
Leeds say there is a strong chance that Webb could even be forced to withdraw from the Kiwis' World Cup squad, which is announced on Tuesday, although he will have further medical tests next week before a final decision is made.