Leeds Rhinos are expected to pull off an amazing double coup from down under this week which could change the complexion of their line up in 2023 including what Rohan Smith does at centre.
So, here’s our revised Leeds Rhinos 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, 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.
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 & Rhyse Martin
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. Fans were expecting a new signing perhaps in the shape of Nene MacDonald but that now seems unlikely after he was named in the Leigh squad. Oliver Gildart has been rumoured but if Leeds use their cap space on quota on a prop as is expected, Leeds will have to do with what they have which could be versatile signing Derrell Olpherts or indeed Rhyse Martin who shone there in 2022. With so many forwards at the club next year, it could make sense for Martin to start centre to get as many new forwards into the side.
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’s likely to be Matt Prior or Zane Tetevano and the way the latter finished last season, it could be Tetevano starting prop.
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 & Morgan Gannon
With James McDonnell and Leon Ruan signed, Leeds have some exciting new young edge forwards in 2023 which is why Martin could play centre. The quality of youngster Morgan Gannon however could see him cemented alongside James Bentley in the back row.
Loose-Forward: Cameron Smith
Smith is now cemented as Leeds’ first choice 13 due to his work ethic but the way he moves the ball adding an extra dimension to the Rhinos attack.
Substitutes: Kruise Leeming, Justin Sangare, Matt Prior, Sam Lisone
With Leeds expected to sign NRL prop Sam Lisone from Gold Coast along with his partner in an amazing double coup from down under, Leeds could have a blockbuster bench with two impact props with him and fellow new recruit Justin Sangare who is a superb impact sun as England saw when they played France. Add the experience of Matt Prior and the speed and skill of Kruise Leeming and Leeds could have one of the best benches in the league.