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Assessing the complicated future of Leeds Rhinos star as potential exit looms

Leeds Rhinos winger Derrell Olpherts

Leeds Rhinos confirmed the signing of outside back Derrell Olpherts from Castleford Tigers on a two-year contract at the end of 2022.

Olpherts spent three seasons at the Tigers, playing in the Challenge Cup Final at Wembley in 2021 and scoring 36 tries in 54 appearances. During the 2022 campaign, he collected an impressive 18 tries as well as a host of top performances. He was third in Super League for metres made behind the Rhinos Ash Handley and Wigan’s Jai Field, and was second for carries, only behind teammate Handley and was the top player in Super League for tackle busts, ahead of Field and St Helens’ Jack Welsby.

In his first season at Headingley, he featured for the First Team and Reserves throughout 2023. Opening his scoring account in the round one defeat to Warrington, Olpherts added three more tries that season in Super League against Catalans and two against Castleford once at Magic Weekend and the other in the 46-0 round 27 win.

He has previously played at Dewsbury and Newcastle in the lower leagues before getting his breakthrough in Super League with Salford in 2018.

Despite signing a two year deal with the Rhinos, there has been speculation that Derrell Olpherts could be leaving the Rhinos.

Olpherts is presently a Leeds player and has joined the squad in Portugal for their pre-season camp. He has been awarded the number 19 shirt by the club a small movement from the number 16 shirt.

However, it is understood that Leeds are still open to offers for the winger after interest from Bradford Bulls and Leigh Leopards.

This would enable the Rhinos to make a further transfer ahead of the 2024 season. Leeds are presently working with a one in and one out policy and are understood to be happy with their squad at present.

If Olpherts were to leave, they would likely make a play for Lee Kershaw. But for now Olpherts is clearly settled at the club and the squad are happy to have him as seen through images and videos emerging from the Rhinos’ training camp.

Leeds are certainly not interested in Joe Burgess following his impending exit from Salford Red Devils.

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