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Early Leeds vs Catalans team news as star signing misses training

After losing for the third time this season, Leeds Rhinos face the tough challenge of hosting the unbeaten Catalans Dragons on Saturday.

As Rohan Smith looks to get the Rhinos back to the winners’ circle, he answered the question of what changes he has thought about making for the game as he revealed that the Rhinos have been dealing with illness.

He said: “Not a great deal really. We have a couple of guys that didn’t play that are there or there abouts in our squad. We will see.

“We’ve had a bit of illness in the camp and there’s a few bumps and bruises we’re still getting over.

“We will know more tomorrow, then on Thursday and then we will lock a team in for Saturday.”

This week it has been confirmed that Mikolaj Oledzki is back in training but he won’t play:

“Not this week no. He could be the week after or the one after that.

“It is what it is, the chose to play for England and in that period his shoulder got worse because he put things worse but he needed the surgery and we knew he would miss the start of the season.

“He is flying in training, just needs to get some team training and we need to check that off.”

He also gave an update on Harry Newman:

“We see how he gets through, he has trained well today.

“He is very fit, he has done a lot of work.

“It’s just a graduated process just as you would in pre-season, you stagger your game time.”

“We have done our best to make a logical and scientific based process to give him the best chance to perform short term and long term.

“We haven’t had a discussion about the plan for this week. As we get closer we will make a decision. If fit and able, he may play 80.”

Meanwhile, Morgan Gannon won’t feature after a head injury in Round Two:

“No he won’t be this week. He saw a specialist last week and he needs to go back to check up.

“He hasn’t had any symptoms or issues and given his age we are being cautious especially because of the recommendations.

“It is the specialist’s request. They are given us the direction and we are dealing with that.”

Ash Handley’s absence will continue but Smith is confident that it will settle down soon:

“He is going well, a few weeks away at least, it will settle down.”

As for Catalans Dragons they could have Mitchell Pearce and Matt Whitley back for the game.

However, Sam Tomkins isn’t looking likely nor is Tom Johnstone who missed training this week.

This is according to French publication L’Indepedent who said:

“This Tuesday morning (March 21), Mitchell Pearce and Matt Whitley participated in the one-hour group session. The players will be part of the trip to Leeds on Saturday (14pm). Romain Navarrete (quadriceps) and Matthieu Laguerre (ribs) are still in the re-athletic period and they have chained the races with the medical staff. Manu Ma’u, Tom Johnstone and Paul Séguier did not train. All three players were spared. In the event of Johnstone’s withdrawal, Tanguy Zénon will play on the wing on Saturday at Headingley.

“For the moment, only the participation of Manu Ma’u, in the next trip, is uncertain. Finally, Sam Tomkins (knee) and Siua Taukeiaho (calf) were treated to a low-intensity cycling session on the edge of the field. Fouad Yaha (shoulder) is still in the rehabilitation phase. Recall that the Catalans Dragons will head to England this Friday morning (6 am) with probably nineteen players.”

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