Today fans can stick their teeth into the first all Super League clash of 2023 as the competition’s new boys Leigh Leopards host Leeds Rhinos in a friendly decided upon following Nene MacDonald’s move from Leigh to Leeds though he is not fit enough to feature for the Rhinos today.
Leigh have made some huge signings for the new season including the likes of Zak Hardaker and Tom Briscoe from the Rhinos whilst Luis Roberts went the other way alongside Wigan Warriors man James McDonnell who spent last year on loan at Leigh.
It is a chance for the renamed Leigh Leopards to make a statement before the start of the Super League season against the Grand Finalist from last year. The game kicks off at 15:00 at Leigh Sports Village. Sadly, there is no TV coverage of the game unlike Leeds’ game against Wakefield on Boxing Day.
Leeds have now confirmed that today’s game will definitely go ahead after fears it could follow other games in other sports and be cancelled due to a frozen pitch.
In a statement on Twitter, they said:
“Despite the dip in temperatures in recent days, the undersoil heating at Leigh Leopards will make sure that this afternoon’s game goes ahead, remember to wrap up warm, kick off 3pm.”
Leigh haven’t named their squad for the game but the Leopards will likely give a start to John Asiata at loose-forward after confirming that he will captain the side in 2023.
It will be interesting to see if Hardaker and Briscoe debut against their former club and if their other major signings feature in the contest.
As for Leeds, there will be debuts for Luis Roberts and Sam Lisone. Halfbacks Aidan Sezer and Blake Austin feature for the first time this pre-season as Jack Sinfield returns from injury.
David Fusitu’a is back in the mix.
New recruits Justin Sangare and Leon Ruan will get their second hit out.