We got a taste of domestic rugby league for the first time since the Grand Final which was just over three months ago and Leeds Rhinos featured again.
The traditional Boxing Day Game saw Rhinos face off with Wakefield Trinity and despite the huge attendance of 9,143 Rhinos lost out 38-20 after a flurry of late tries for Trinity.
Rohan Smith, heading into his first full season at Leeds, had sent out an experimental team which featured plenty of youth, a few new signings and some position switch-ups including Ash Handley at full-back and Morgan Gannon in the halves.
One of the debutants was Leon Ruan who signed on a three-year contract from League One side Doncaster and the second-rower impressed today but has spoken to the Leeds Rhinos Youtube channel on that three-year plan and expectations for what’s to come.
“Rohan has been really good, obviously I don’t expect myself to be some sort of outstanding Super League player yet, and he doesn’t expect me to be that right now either. But obviously that is the end goal to be a week in week out Super League player.
“Three years is a long time and this is my first proper full-time pre-season so I’m just like a sponge absorbing everything up from those around me and obviously there’s a lot of experience so it’s good to be in this environment.
“I back myself and I’m sure Rohan does otherwise he wouldn’t have signed me.”
Just 19-years-old, Ruan was very impressive in his first performance for Rhinos and he was incredibly happy to do so in front of the fans of a club he’s supported as he’s grown up.
“Obviously I’ve grown up in Leeds and supporting Leeds all my life so I had a lot of family here today supporting me which was really good, really nice to see them and obviously it’s a traditional game. I’ve been here before in the stands so to play in front of the fans was amazing.”
Ruan and the rest of the Rhinos squad will continue their pre-season preparation ahead of the Super League opener on February 16th against Warrington Wolves with friendlies against Leigh Leopards, Bradford Bulls, Hull Kingston Rovers and finally Hunslet.