Leeds Rhinos star Ash Handley set for positional switch

Leeds Rhinos star Ash Handley has made his name as a winger.

However, in the academy he spent time playing centre and at fullback. However, two hat-tricks against St Helens in his breakout season of 2015 on the wing had many believing that would be the best position for the natural try scorer.

In 2017, he played games at centre and fullback and was determined to cement himself fullback then though it didn’t happen and in 2019 he was given the number five shirt as Ryan Hall’s replacement.

Since he has developed into one of the best wingers in Super League earning an England appearance against the Combined Nations in 2021.

He was the league’s top scorer in 2020 and was the top metre maker in 2022.

However, he is set to return to fullback in pre-season according to Rohan Smith to give the club further depth in the role after the departures of Jack Walker to Bradford Bulls and Zak Hardaker to Leigh Leopards.

The need for cover here is evident too with new signing Luke Hooley having undergone ankle surgery recently which will leave him out for 12 weeks.

Smith explained this decision yesterday as he opened up on whether he would look to create more cover in the role after those two departures and Hooley’s injury:

“We’ve got some real versatility in our group. Ash Handley will play some fullback in the friendlies, that was always the plan before Luke got injured for him to have a taste at that.

“Ash has trained a bunch there in the past and hasn’t had the chance. Nene MacDonald played there as a kid so we have options there, we have some good kids coming through who could accelerate quickly.”

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