With pre-season ticking along and the season less than four weeks away squads are assembling for pre-season friendlies to ensure that match fitness is at peak level.
For some players though they’ve not even had chance to take part in pre-season on account of pre-existing injuries and that’s been the case for plenty at Leeds Rhinos.
Their highly anticipated signing Nene Macdonald has yet to don the amber and blue and won’t do so this weekend with the Papua New Guinean having suffered an injury at the World Cup.
Plenty of others are carrying knocks and having named his squad for the Saturday matchup with Leigh Leopards, Rohan Smith provided an update on those whose names didn’t feature for the visit to the Super League new boys.
“Rhyse (Martin) is actually yet to finish three weeks of pre-season training so we thought it was a little bit too soon but he’ll be available for selection next week against Bradford,” Smith told the Rhinos’ Youtube channel.
“Cam (Smith) had a minor niggle early in the New year so he’s not quite ready for this week but again he’ll play next week against Bradford.
“Everyone that’s fit and done the necessary amount of training is getting some game time this week. As I said it’s a really important step on our pre-season against a team that will be excited to be back playing against Super League opposition and preparing for their own season as well.”
Leigh will be incredibly fired up for the Saturday game with it marking their first game as the rebranded ‘Leopards’ and will be time to show off plenty of new signings.
As for Leeds though their newest signing, albeit months ago now, was Nene Macdonald who arrived from Leigh and Smith gave an update on him and the other longer term injuries.
“With long-term injuries it’s always hard to pick a date accurately but the ballpark figure is around those first few rounds and those guys are on track for that.
“They’ve still got a lot of hard work to do for us to feel they’re conditioned enough to perform well, not just that their injury has healed but they’re ready to perform.
“Those guys are on track to my knowledge and we’ll be more accurate on the return date in the next couple of weeks once they’ve got through some milestones in their progression.”
The guys in question are star signing Macdonald, his centres partner Harry Newman and Mikolaj Oledzki with all three potentially set to miss the first few games of the 2023 campaign.