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Development in Leeds Rhinos captaincy as star man leads the side for Wakefield Trinity friendly

Since the retirement of Kevin Sinfield in 2015 as a treble winner, Leeds Rhinos have averaged a captain every season.

In 2016 and 2017 Danny McGuire was skipper but as he missed the majority of 2016, the role was mostly Rob Burrow’s.

In 2018, it was Kallum Watkins who took on the role prior to his departure mid way through 2019 as Trent Merrin took on the captaincy until the end of the season.

Going into 2020, Stevie Ward was skipper but his time as captain lasted one game after a concussion against Hull FC ultimately ended his career and saw Luke Gale take on the role until mid 2021 when he was stripped of the captaincy with Matt Prior taking on the role.

Not a lover of the captaincy, he was replaced by Kruise Leeming in 2022. This came after he was their star man in 2021 and made the Super League Dream Team.

But the hooker became more of a bench player at the end of last year with Jarrod O’Connor starting ahead of him leading to speculation that he could lose the captaincy in 2023.

Speaking to the press last week, Rohan Smith revealed that there had been no decision on the captaincy yet:

“No I haven’t. There will be no strict process on that. That announcement or that role will be sorted in time.

“It’s not something that is pressing at this role in time. Everyone is using pre-season to get themselves ready, get themselves prepared and I’m still understanding individuals and how the group interact.

“There’s nothing imminent there.”

That said, there was an interesting development in today’s friendly against Wakefield Trinity as Kruise Leeming led the Rhinos out as skipper suggesting he is still well in the running.

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