With Luke Gale’s captaincy taken from him, the inevitable question is: who will be made Leeds skipper in his absence?
The Rhinos are awash with experienced stars from the likes of Konrad Hurrell to Rob Lui, but it’s these five who are most likely to be in with a shout.
Probably the most obvious choice; Matt Prior has delivered in each and every game he has played since he arrived in the UK ahead of the 2020 season – and he has done it at a time when he himself was close to returning home after being worried about the coronavirus situation. However, having signed a two-year deal only recently, the prop forward is here to stay at Headingley – and Leeds fans should be very happy about that. Always leading from the front, the 34-year-old continues to defy his age with consistent performances week in, week out.
He’s been at the club his whole rugby league career, coming through the academy to make his debut in 2012 and has since registered almost 200 appearances for Leeds. But, Liam Sutcliffe is still only 26 yet seems to have been around forever and it’s this knowledge of the club inside out that would make him a perfect candidate for captain.
Perhaps one out of left field, but since joining Leeds, Kruise Leeming has developed every aspect of his game. From a player with potential at Huddersfield to one that is quickly becoming one of the most consistent hookers in Super League, Leeming has all the candidates to lead Leeds around the field. In fact, he has become so important for the Rhinos, that head coach Richard Agar has even played Leeming in the halves – where the traditional number nine did not look out of place. From barking out orders to putting on moves, the 25-year-old has a very mature head on young shoulders.
Ever since Rhyse Martin arrived at Leeds midway through the 2019 season, the dynamic at Headingley seemed to change. A powerful presence inside and outside the dressing room, the 28-year-old has already shown he can cope easily with added pressure with his successful goal-kicking becoming essential for the Rhinos. Despite a quiet character, Martin knows the rugby league field like the back of his hand and would almost certainly thrive as leader.
Just two years ago, Richie Myler was on the periphery of the Leeds team having lost his place to the incoming Luke Gale. But, instead of sulking, the 31-year-old pulled his socks and made the fullback spot his own. It has been a match made in heaven with Myler playing a vital role in the Rhinos’ Challenge Cup success in 2020, but the diminutive figure also controls the game superbly from the back too. With experience on his side, Myler would be a calming influence throughout games.