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Leeds Rhinos head coach Richard Agar explains Matt Prior’s situation as he names strong Boxing Day squad

Leeds Rhinos head coach Richard Agar released his 22-man squad for Leeds Rhinos’ Boxing Day clash with Wakefield Trinity today, but there was one notable absentee.

That absentee was veteran Australian forward Matt Prior, who signed a new deal until the end of the 2022 Super League season.

But, Agar has revealed that there is a simple explanation for that.

“Matt Prior won’t play, given what we want to do with him in pre-season, having a game for him won’t be too beneficial,” Agar said.

“That means that we won’t consider him for selection.”

The Leeds boss was, however, hopeful to have a stronger squad as possible available for the tie against Wakefield.

“Obviously this time of year, we’ve got a player sat down out of training that will keep him off his feet for a couple of days.

“We’re running with a strong as we can starting team and every fit and available player that hasn’t got any little bumps will be included.”

Agar is keen to. use pre-season as a way of filtering the new signings and young players through to the first-team.

“We want to use this as part of our pre-season preparation and see how we go.

“We’re definitely not expecting to be where we need to be come round one considering what we haven’t done.

“We want the new signings and younger guys to experience what a home game at Headingley is like.”

Agar has, however, included three new signings with Blake Austin and Aidan Sezer combining in the halves for first time together since they played alongside each other at Canberra Raiders in 2018. James Bentley is the other new recruit included in the starting line up.

Youngster Jack Sinfield could make his first senior appearance for the Rhinos after being named in the extended squad with Agar set to reduce the 21 man squad on the morning of the game.

The squad in full is (the Rhinos will wear 1-13 on Boxing Day):

1. Richie Myler
2. Jack Broadbent
3. Harry Newman
4. Tom Briscoe
5. Ash Handley
6. Blake Austin
7. Aidan Sezer
8. Mikolaj Oledzki
9. Kruise Leeming
10. Zane Tetevano
11. Alex Mellor
12. James Bentley
13. Cameron Smith
14. Brad Dwyer
15. James Donaldson
16. Morgan Gannon
17. Bodene Thompson
18. Sam Walters
19. Jack Sinfield
20. Jarrod O’Connor
21. Muizz Mustapha
22. Liam Tindall

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