Leeds Rhinos have been doing it tough with injuries during the 2022 Super League season.
The likes of Harry Newman, Richie Myler, David Fusitu’a and Aidan Sezer have all suffered long-term injuries whilst suspensions to those such as James Bentley, Matt Prior and Zane Tetevano haven’t helped the Rhinos get a consistent side out on the field.
That being said, new head coach Rohan Smith has managed to pull his players together and inspired a great resurgence which has taken the West Yorkshire club to eighth in the Super League table, just three points behind sixth-placed Castleford Tigers.
However, there will be a new halfback partnership in tow for this week’s trip to Toulouse Olympique with both Sezer and Blake Austin suffering slight niggles from the win over the Tigers at the Magic Weekend.
To add to Smith’s woe, Zak Hardaker could also miss out due to a thigh problem.
“Zak is a bit sore still, we will have to see how he pulls up tomorrow and how he travels as he’s still a little bit stiff,” Smith said.
“It looks like Blake will play next week, Aidan maybe as well but he could be a little bit longer.
“They are short-term injuries but as key players and valuable assets playing injured is not something I’m going to endorse – they both put their hand up this weekend but they aren’t medically right to play.”
Smith also revealed that the lack of consistency in the spine is not so much of a problem for Leeds – and he even went as far as saying that the spine (fullback, halfbacks and hooker) is focused on too much.
“We’ve got a versatile squad, particularly with Richie Myler capable of filling in the halves and then we’ve got Jack Sinfield who has been playing well in lower grades. Sutcliffe can play in the halves as well.
“I’m not sure we’ve had he same spine twice while I’ve been here so it doesn’t bother me too much.
“It’s part of the game I have coached. I think there is an overemphasis on the spine at times.”