Jarrod O’Connor was one of the breakout stars of the 2022 Super League season and he ended it starting a Grand Final against St Helens in a new position.
Yes O’Connor started his career at hooker but he was very much a loose-forward playing at nine and now O’Connor is a player who plays brilliantly at nine and 13 largely down to Rohan Smith’s development.
He is now ready for a new season and speaking to Serious About Rugby League, O’Connor has spoken about pre-season.
He said: “Pre season has been going really well so far. I think we have a good group of lads who have all bonded well and everyone is ripping in. We have been doing different things and not just staying in the training ground which keeps things fun and interesting.”
Last year, O’Connor was starting big games at nine ahead of skipper Kruise Leeming and Hull FC bound exciting hooker Brad Dwyer.
It has been debated by Leeds fans plenty over whether O’Connor will start at nine next season, but O’Connor doesn’t know yet what his role will be:
“Rohan hasn’t told me if I’ll start ahead of Kruise but that’s because we will both need to fight for that position. Kruise is obviously one of the best hookers in the league and I know how hard he’s working this pre season which pushes me to make sure I’m doing more so I can get that position. I think this year we will bring out the best in each other.”
He will however take Brad Dwyer’s number 14 shirt next season and O’Connor is excited:
“When I found out I’d be wearing 14 I was really excited! I know a number doesn’t mean much when it comes to picking the team but to know Rohan believes in me enough that I’m closer to the starting numbers gives me confidence going into this year.”