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Leeds Rhinos: Former player helping club look at multiple NRL players

Leeds Rhinos looking at NRL signings

It has been an inconsistent season for Leeds Rhinos so far in 2024. That’s something the fans at Headingley have become very used to over recent seasons with the club struggling to challenge for silverware.

Since the legends of yesteryear hung up their boots, the Rhinos have not got close to replicating the achievements of the golden generation.

Part of this has seen a huge overturn in players season on season, with the hierarchy at Headingley determined to get the club back on track and challenging for honours again.

However, the recruitment the club has carried out has not hit the mark. Despite spending up to the cap, Leeds have not got near to competing with the likes of Wigan Wariors and St Helens. The Rhinos actually missed out on the top six completely in 2023.

In the off-season leading up to the current campaign, Leeds spent big to bring Brodie Croft and Andy Ackers to the club from Salford. Croft was scouted by another former Rhino during his early days in Australia.

That man is Matt Adamson who was a fan favourite at Leeds. In his three-year spell in Super League between 2002 and 2004, he played a crucial part in laying the foundations for the club’s golden generation.

Now, Adamson works in talent identification for a number of clubs in both the NRL and Super League, with the ex-Fiji head coach in constant communication with his former club.

Adamson advising Leeds Rhinos on signings

Leeds Rhinos Super League

Credit: SWpix

Leeds Rhinos favourite, Adamson, recently spoke exclusively to Serious About Rugby League. He revealed the role that he has and continues to play in the club’s talent identification pathway.

Adamson regularly works with the Leeds management, recommending talent in the NRL set up.

“I manage young talent in the NRL. I’ve got a couple of first-grade players,” said Adamson.

He continued: “I talk to Gary Hetherington and Rohan Smith at Leeds regularly about players from Australia that I think would be a good fit for their squad and things like that.

“I talk to a number of clubs regularly on a weekly basis about trying to help them rebuild rosters and things like that.

“Leeds is one of those clubs and I’m eager to help Gary and Rohan, I want to help them find some major talent.

“I think we can do that because Rohan is focused on building up a young, talented squad and there are certainly some players here who would do well in Super League who we’ll be speaking about.”

Adamson responsible for uncovering major NRL talents

Former Man of Steel Brodie Croft is one of Leeds Rhinos key signings for 2024. Super League

Credit: Matthew Merrick

Adamson also spoke about his role in uncovering some of the biggest names in the NRL. Having returned to Australia, he helped to set up Melbourne Storm’s coaching system in Queensland.

Adamson’s talent identification system helped the Storm to replace some of their greatest players.

On his system, he noted: “That includes a couple of Super League teams at the bottom of the ladder because they have a real interest in the job we did at Melbourne Storm to help rebuild the Storm’s roster.

“When Cooper Cronk, Cameron Smith and Billy Slater were coming towards the end of their career, I was sent out to find our next generation.

“Our next generation at that stage, we handpicked Brodie Croft, Harry Grant, Cameron Munster and Scott Drinkwater.

“Scott Drinkwater moved on to North Queensland, Croft is now at Leeds, Harry Grant is now the captain of the club (Melbourne Storm) and Cameron Munster will go down in history as one of Melbourne’s greats outside the other three gentlemen I mentioned before.

“But that was a great exercise and there’s a number of other good young talented players out of that particular year that I developed in the program.”

Adamson believes that some clubs in Super League are struggling to develop consistent pathways. This has led to them falling behind their rivals and needing to play catch up.

“There’s a number of Super League clubs that have probably got it really wrong of late and they’ve realised that.

“It’s very hard to find or to get talent. There are a number of NRL clubs that still feel that there’s a lack of depth in certain positions in their squad. But, you know, that’s an opportunity.”

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