Leeds Rhinos pulled off one of the biggest signings for the 2024 season when they announced the acquasition of 2022 Man of Steel Brodie Croft from Salford Red Devils in October. He arrived at the club as part of a bumper-double purchase which also saw England hooker Andy Ackers make the move to Headingley alongside Croft.
This came after Jenna Brooks of Sky Sports revealed that Leigh Leopards were leading the chase for Brodie Croft just a week before. Salford Director Paul King responded firmly at the time Brooks made this suggestion by stating that there was no truth in the rumour and that Croft would not be leaving the club to sign for Leigh.
But Derek Beaumont has now confirmed that there was interest in Croft from the Leopards. He said on Leopards TV: “We’re in a salary cap-governed sport, so there is one key signing to achieve. People have spoken about Milford and Croft, I kept quiet on that because I never think it is healthy to talk about those things until they are done.
“Brodie Croft, there was an interest without doubt for us, he is a proven player in Super League – all of Super League likes him.”
In fact, the Leopards even had a deal agreed for Croft, but timewise it didn’t fit for the club which opened the door for Leeds Rhinos to seal the signing of Croft.
Beaumont added: “When some news came through surrounding what is happening in Super League regarding funding and sponsorship, I thought that might create opportunity in and around that player so we made contact around it.
“We pretty much had it agreed to progress but that didn’t quite materialise as quickly as Adrian Lam and Chris Chester wanted. We withdrew as we were on a tighter deadline with the other player and didn’t want to end up with neither. We went with the other option and by that point Leeds got into a good place so when we revisited it it was too late.
“The other option is still being worked on. There is a marquee player to come, we will be patient. There is then perhaps one other player that would be seen in the 19-man squad level and that would see us done for starting.”
The Leopards are still in the market for a playmaker and are believed to be interested in Ryan Brierley, also from Salford, who has had two spells at Leigh previously and is the club’s all-time record try-scorer.