Kruise Leeming opens on Leeds Rhinos captaincy decision

Rohan Smith had his latest say on the Leeds Rhinos captaincy on Saturday after Leeds’ defeat against Leigh Leopards.

Since the retirement of Kevin Sinfield in 2015 as a treble winner, Leeds Rhinos have averaged a captain every season.

In 2016 and 2017 Danny McGuire was skipper but as he missed the majority of 2016, the role was mostly Rob Burrow’s.

In 2018, it was Kallum Watkins who took on the role prior to his departure mid way through 2019 as Trent Merrin took on the captaincy until the end of the season.

Going into 2020, Stevie Ward was skipper but his time as captain lasted one game after a concussion against Hull FC ultimately ended his career and saw Luke Gale take on the role until mid 2021 when he was stripped of the captaincy with Matt Prior taking on the role.

Not a lover of the captaincy, he was replaced by Kruise Leeming in 2022. This came after he was their star man in 2021 and made the Super League Dream Team.

But the hooker became more of a bench player at the end of last year with Jarrod O’Connor starting ahead of him leading to speculation that he could lose the captaincy in 2023.

Kruise Leeming seems to be the front runner. Like on Boxing Day, a game in which he crossed for a try, Leeming led the team out today as captain.

That said, it is a team without the likes of Mikolaj Oledzki, Cameron Smith and Rhyse Martin all of whom could be candidates.

That said, speaking after the game, Smith confirmed that he hadn’t named a captain for the game itself as he gave an update on the captaincy for the new season revealing that he may not have one single skipper.

“If Kruise did the toss and led the boys out today that’s good as gold but there was no captain assigned for today,” he said.

“We’re no closer to deciding, we’re closer to the start of the season.

“I’m not fixed on the one leader model, I’m not sure what environment that works in best anymore.”

Now Leeming has had his say on the captaincy at the Rhinos’ media day.

On whether he would like to keep the captaincy, he said: “Yeah it would be a great honour as it was last year. Which way Rohan goes with, I’d love to do it, but whoever he goes with will get my full support. I am ready to go.”