One of the big stories of last season broke early on when it was revealed Leeds Rhinos ex-captain Kruise Leeming had been released from his contract, but the hooker has now landed with rivals Wigan Warriors.
Leeming was skipper when Rohan Smith came in and took over in the 2022 season but despite the team’s charge to the Grand Final Leeming seemed to play less and less. Then when it was confirmed that Smith would go without a captain it seemed to further nudge Leeming out of the frame.
Even so his eventual release did come as a shock but what was more surprising was that his next team would be Gold Coast Titans, the hooker opting for a switch down under instead of a Super League move. During his time down under Leeming made ten appearances but ultimately he has returned to Super League, signing with champions Wigan Warriors.
Following Sam Powell’s departure to Warrington it will be a battle between Leeming and young Brad O’Neill for the starting nine spot, but the ex-Leeds Rhinos man has explained what exactly brought him to the DW Stadium.
“I was at Leeds last year and then I went to Gold Coast and spent more than half of the season there. It was a really good experience again for me. Whilst I was there, I had a Zoom call with Matty Peet and I was speaking with a few other clubs at the time but it a was a really impressive call [with Peet] to be honest,” Leeming said on Wigan TV.
Peet became one of the youngest coaches to win both the Challenge Cup and the Grand Final after his side’s victory at Old Trafford in October and Leeming was full of praise for his new boss, explaining just how easily he was persuaded to make the switch to work underneath Peet.
“He is a really impressive bloke. His values and what he expects with standards aligned with mine. After getting off the call, I spoke with Iestyn Harris – my agent – and said I wanted to sign straightaway.
“That’s testament to the staff that is at the club and especially the person that Matty is. It took just one phone call to make my decision. I’m really looking forward to getting going and learning a lot as well. I’m still at the stage of my career where I am learning, I want to learn and get better.”
Leeming, 28, is one of a huge number of key signings for Wigan alongside Adam Keighran, Luke Thompson and Sam Walters with plenty of other players arriving to add depth such as Sam Eseh and Tiaki Chan.