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Analysing 5 possible Super League loan options for Leeds Rhinos

Leeds Rhinos avoided an embarrassing loss yesterday as they scraped past Super League’s bottom side London Broncos in golden point with the performance evidence enough that a change of coach isn’t the answer to the club’s problems. With that in mind, we’ve picked out five possible loanees that the club could bring in to aid their playoff push.

Remarkably, despite the lacklustre season so far, Leeds Rhinos are just two points outside the playoff places as they sit in seventh place. Their playoff credentials will be tested in the next two weeks with games against third and fourth-placed Warrington Wolves and Hull KR respectively.

Before then, it’s widely expected that they will have a new head coach in place with reports that former Parramatta Eels boss Brad Arthur has been appointed on a short-term deal until the end of the season having emerged late last week. Sporting Director Ian Blease batted back those suggestions and simply explained that the 50-year-old Australian was “one of our options”.

However, it seems apparent that more than just a coaching change coach be necessary for this Leeds Rhinos team to make the playoffs so we’ve selected five players that they could draft in on a short-term loan deal.

Leeds Rhinos Quiz: Can you name these former Super League players? #4

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1.

Who should Leeds Rhinos target in the loan market?

Sam Eseh Jr

Leeds Rhinos loanee

Credit: Imago Images

This is perhaps an obvious one given the fact that the Wigan Warriors youngster is currently on loan at Leeds Rhinos. Eseh Jr made the move to Headingley just before the international break and has impressed in both showings so far.

The loan move was a four-week deal but Leeds should be aiming to extend that given Wigan’s immense strength in their pack and the fact the club’s transition coach claimed Eseh needed “invaluable minutes on the pitch”.

Sam Walters

Sam Walters Leeds Rhinos

Credit: Imago Images

Walters missed the first half of the season through injury and only made his Wigan debut in late May in the Challenge Cup semi-final. The former Leeds Rhinos man has played in the last four Super League games, coming off the bench in the past two.

Given the depth that Wigan boast and the fact that Walters knows the Leeds Rhinos set-up, he’s someone that the Rhinos should be enquiring about but the likelihood of a deal maybe isn’t high. If unsuccessful then Leeds could look at the likes of Harvie Hill instead.

George King

Huddersfield Giants have been linked with Geroge King. Leeds Rhinos

Credit: Imago Images

Hull KR’s George King isn’t as young as both Walters or Eseh Jr but he also brings exactly what Leeds Rhinos need – size in the pack. Moreover, the Irish international brings plenty of experience and after finding playing time hard to come by at Craven Park lately then he’s a viable option.

King has slowly started returning into the fray for Willie Peters but he is often used as a bench player now, despite having been an established starter for much of his four years at the club. The 29-year-old brings size and experience, something the Rhinos pack is desperate for.

Matty Russell

Matty Russell playing for Leeds Rhinos

Credit: Imago Images

Russell is another, like Eseh Jr, who has featured on loan for the Rhinos earlier in the season. The 31-year-old winger only made one appearance for the club back in Round 12 but has also been surplus to requirements at Warrington since his recall.

Given the propensity for Leeds Rhinos backs to suffer injuries, particularly winger David Fusitu’a, Russell would be a smart pick-up to offer depth and competition, but most importantly cover.

Jake Connor

Jake Connor Huddersfield Giants

Credit: Imago Images

Despite reports that Leeds Rhinos have missed out on Jake Connor, the full-back was clearly a target of the club and with Huddersfield Giants potentially set to spiral following their 48-0 loss to Warrington Wolves, he could return to the market.

Connor would be adept at full-back or in the halves and can also play in the centres which provides cover for the injury-prone Harry Newman, just as Russell would do for Fusitu’a. More importantly, he adds strike and a sprinkle of off-the-cuff quality that could be crucial for the club’s playoff ambitions.

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