How Leeds Rhinos could line-up in 2023 after Matt Prior’s surprise retirement

Leeds Rhinos announced the news today that Matt Prior is set to retire with immediate effect.

The decision leaves a quota spot open at the club which they will likely use at centre.

So, after these developments, here’s our revised predicted Leeds line-up for 2023.

Fullback: Richie Myler
At one stage there was thought that Leeds would face a three-way dilemma at fullback in 2023 but now that Jack Walker is headed to Bradford and the Rhinos have been unable to tie down Zak Hardaker who joins Leigh Leopards, Richie Myler is almost guaranteed the fullback spot. Yes, Luke Hooley might have something to say about that, but the quality Myler brings to the Leeds attack will see him nailed on in that role as Hooley begins his development at the club.

Wingers: David Fusitu’a & Ash Handley
Two powerful wingers who fit the Rohan Smith style by getting Leeds on the front foot with big carries. The two also have great finishing ability but will have to be at their best to keep new signings Luis Roberts and Derrell Olpherts off the wings as well as Liam Tindall.

Centres: Harry Newman & Brayden Wiliame
One centre is nailed on at Leeds next year when fit and that is the potentially World Class Harry Newman but who will join him. With Hardaker and Liam Sutcliffe gone, there seems to be limited options for Rohan Smith. However, the retirement of Matt Prior has left a quota spot open for Leeds Rhinos to use to sign a centre. Nene MacDonald has been linked with the club but Serious About Rugby League understands that former Catalans Dragons and NRL centre Brayden Wiliame is set to return to Super League and his destination could very well be Headingley though that remains to be seen.

Halfbacks: Blake Austin & Aidan Sezer
With little movement in terms of looking to bring spine players in, Leeds will likely stick with former Canberra partnership Blake Austin and Aidan Sezer in 2023 hoping that the two don’t suffer quite so much with injuries.

Props: Mikolaj Oledzki & Zane Tetevano
2022 Dream Team Prop Mikolaj Oledzki is nailed on to start and will hope to continue his development. The question is, who will join him? It certainly won’t be Matt Prior now that he has retired. It could be new signing Sam Lisone but he was always an impact sub in the NRL, so it could very well by Zane Tetevano who finished last season strongly.

Hooker: Jarrod O’Connor
As the season drew to a close and the play-offs began, Rohan Smith settled on O’Connor for the big games due to his tenacity in defence. Thus, he could become Leeds’ starting nine next year to give Leeds some early stability in games.

Second-rowers: James Bentley & Rhyse Martin
With James McDonnell and Leon Ruan signed, Leeds have some exciting new young edge forwards in 2023 with outstanding youngster Morgan Gannon already at the club and pushing for a place in the side. However, Leeds’ first choice backrows at the end of last season James Bentley and Rhyse Martin were outstanding at the end of last season and will start the season as the first choice backrowers.

Loose-Forward: Cameron Smith
Smith is now cemented as Leeds’ first choice 13 due to his work ethic but also the way he moves the ball adding an extra dimension to the Rhinos attack.

Substitutes: Kruise Leeming, Justin Sangare, Sam Lisone, Morgan Gannon
Leeds could have a blockbuster bench with two impact props new recruits Lisone and Justin Sangare at  the club. Sangare has really caught the eye at the World Cup and, like Lisone, is a superb impact sub as England saw when they played France. Add the speed and skill of Kruise Leeming and Leeds could have one of the best benches in the league especially with a quality youngster like Morgan Gannon able to be called upon.

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