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Blake Austin’s surprise pick for “most impressive team” in Super League so far

The unbeaten Catalans Dragons are at Headingley this weekend looking to make it six wins from six to start the season: their best ever record to begin a campaign.

The last time Leeds Rhinos beat the Dragons at home was back in 2019 in a comprehensive win in which the Rhinos went down to 12 men when Brad Singleton was sent off.

As the Rhinos go in search of a win Leeds Head Coach Rohan Smith has named his 21 man squad to face the unbeaten Catalans Dragons this Saturday live on Channel 4.

The Rhinos are expecting a bumper crowd for the 1pm Saturday lunchtime kick off.

Leeds are without Ash Handley, Mikolaj Oledzki and Morgan Gannon through injury whilst James Bentley will miss Saturday’s game as he serves a one game suspension.

Full back Luke Hooley, who joined the Rhinos from Batley in the close season, is included in the 21 man squad for the first time this season having made his comeback from an ankle injury in the Reserves last week. Jack Sinfield, who impressed in that Reserves win, is also included.

Hooker Corey Johnson returns to the squad to replace Kruise Leeming, who has asked for a release from his contract. Johnson played for Bradford Bulls last week on dual registration, as did Liam Tindall, who scored for the Bulls in their win over Sheffield and earns a recall to the 21 man squad for the Rhinos.

Sam Walters and James Donaldson both return to the squad having missed out at Castleford last week.

Ahead of the game, Leeds star Blake Austin has described the Dragons as the “most impressive side” in the league so far this season.

“They are a big tough, strong side, they have probably been the most impressive side this year. I have been waiting for them to fall off the wagon the last three or four weeks but they are finding a way against some really good teams,” Austin said on the Rhinos YouTube channel.

“Tyrone May and Adam Keighran are looking good, Adam is a player who can do really well in Super League and Tom Johnstone looks like he spent pre-season the weights room.”

This might surprise a few given that Austin’s former team Warrington Wolves are also unbeaten and have done so in perhaps a little more style.

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