Rohan Smith is preparing for Leeds Rhinos’ first pre-season friendly going into 2023 after enjoying his first pre-season in charge of the West Yorkshire club having taken over last May guiding the club to the Grand Final.
He has confirmed that it will be a mixed team that takes to the field at Headingley against Wakefield Trinity on Boxing Day.
A festive friendly with years of tradition behind it, it is the first time since Leeds’ clash against New Zealand in October to have a look at the squad and of course it is somewhat new look.
Smith confirmed that James McDonnell, Justin Sangare, Leon Ruan and Derrell Olpherts are ready to make their debuts for the club.
Meanwhile, Sam Lisone is not ready to feature having only just arrived at the club due to visa issues.
The Rhinos have had three stars in surgery in the same of Mikolaj Oledzki, Luke Hooley and Cameron Smith. According to his coach, Smith is not far from being ready to fully return so expect him to feature in friendlies in January and February.
Leeds are sweating on the fitness of centres Harry Newman and Nene MacDonald for Round One against Warrington Wolves as they recover from injury.
Smith also revealed that stars Zane Tetevano and Rhyse Martin are still in Australia after their World Cup campaigns ended and they went home.