Exclusive: Leigh Leopards respond to rumours linking Nene MacDonald with a move to Leeds Rhinos

One rumour has been persistently making the rounds since mid season.

It only intensified following other player movements announced in August too.

The rumour in question is of course Nene MacDonald to Leeds Rhinos.

This is perhaps a rumour born out of the fact MacDonald was one of Leeds Rhinos’ boss Rohan Smith’s biggest stars whilst at Norths Devils he then went on to star for Leigh as they gained promotion to Super League scoring tries for fun.

When Leeds announced the departure of Liam Sutcliffe to Hull FC, this rumour only intensified though the fact Leeds had Zak Hardaker at the club ensured nothing was concrete.

Slowly but surely as both Leeds and Leigh enjoyed success at the end of 2022, the rumours subsided until Leigh announced their own raft of new signings. These included the aforementioned Hardaker as well as Huddersfield Giants’ Ricky Leutele – whom Leeds are said to have enquired about earlier in 2022 – which left them with three centres including fellow star Ed Chamberlain.

Furthermore, the signings left Leigh with eight overseas players one over the permitted quota of eight.

This led to speculation that one player would leave and many assumed it would be MacDonald to Leeds.

However, Leigh owner Derek Beaumont denied that there would be any players leaving the club to satisfy the quota spots revealing a way around the problem on Twitter.

This didn’t stop people from claiming that MacDonald was headed to Headingley with Leeds left with just one first team centre in Harry Newman who has struggled with injuries since 2020.

The Rhinos’ situation has been interesting with the club having a quota spot they used on Sam Lisone a prop only for another to open when Matt Prior retired.

The departure of Jack Walker alongside Prior’s retirement has left cap space for Leeds as well as a quota spot and Leeds fans are expecting a centre to be brought in.

The rumour mill has been in full swing as consequence with Brayden Wiliame and MacDonald being linked with a move to Leeds and the rumours have increased recently after dying down after MacDonald was unveiled as a Leigh player for 2023 and Beaumont’s comments.

Serious About Rugby League made an approach to Leigh about whether there was any validity in these rumours.

An official Leigh Leopards spokesperson said to Serious About Rugby League: “The club will not be commenting and does not respond to speculation.”

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