If there is one team that has had to juggle the salary cap within an inch of their life it is the Leeds Rhinos in 2022.
The Super League side has been phenomenal under new head Rohan Smith, but with the Australian wanting to put his own stamp on the West Yorkshire side, numerous deals have had to be done to make that happen.
The likes of Liam Sutcliffe, Muizz Mustapha and Brad Dwyer are leaving at the end of the year whilst Jack Walker left for Hull FC on loan until the end of the season and Jack Broadbent and Alex Mellor permanently halfway through.
That has enabled Smith to do some potential juggling for next year with Zak Hardaker expected to sign a new deal at Headingley whilst others such as Leon Ruan and Luke Hooley have been linked.
But, perhaps the biggest name linked with the Rhinos for 2023 has been Nene MacDonald of the Leigh Centurions who, it is fair to say, has been one of the best signings the Championship has ever seen.
And, with Leeds set to have one quota spot open following the departure of Bodene Thompson at the end of the season, it’s a move that has certainly gained traction.
The centre came from the Norths Devils – the club in the Australian second tier where Smith, ironically, used to coach – to Leigh ahead of the 2022 season and has been one of the most in-form players of the competition.
Smith’s link with MacDonald from Norths is set to be the deciding factor whilst Leeds winger Tom Briscoe is expected to make the move in the opposite direction, the Yorkshire Evening Post previously reported.
With Briscoe spending his entire career at just two clubs – Hull FC and Leeds – he will give Leigh some great Super League experience to take forward.
With the Centurions attempting to lure more British players given the fact that six of their quota will have to be cut if they reach Super League in 2023, it has meant that the likes of Mark Ioane and Jy Hitchcox will depart whilst those such as Jack Hughes and Matt Davis are expected to make the move to the Leigh Sports Village.