Leeds Rhinos fans were disappointed by the news that Kruise Leeming would miss today’s huge game but making matters is worse is the loss of Blake Austin.
The halfback misses the game with a minor leg problem and intriguingly Corey Johnson comes into the halves in a move forecast by his absence for Bradford Bulls last night.
It means Leeds effectively play with three hookers with Jarrod O’Connor given the nod at nine in Leeming’s absence and Brad Dwyer on the bench for his first appearance in weeks after being left out of Leeds’ last two.
Johnson’s selection is also curious as he is picked over young halfback Jack Sinfield however Johnson does have superb experience in the halves having played there plenty at York.
Rohan Smith has named his starting line up to face Castleford tonight at the Magic Weekend with Austin ruled out by minor lower leg injury, Johnson starts in the halves
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— Leeds Rhinos (@leedsrhinos) July 9, 2022
Speaking of halfbacks, Lee Radford has made an interesting call at six in his own side. With Jake Trueman out for the rest of the season and Gareth O’Brien injured with Paul McShane suspenddd many believed Joe Westerman would start at six but instead it is Greg Eden with Niall Evalds at fullback for his first appearance since returning from a long term injury layoff.
Westerman stays at 13 with Adam Milner filling in at nine for McShane. Former Rhino Alex Mellor starts at second-row.
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— Castleford Tigers (@CTRLFC) July 9, 2022
It means both sides have makeshift halfback pairings and it is especially a disappointing blow for Leeds. Last week’s huge win over Hull was the first time Austin, Sezer, Leeming and Myler had all played together and things clearly worked.
That now remains the only time they’ve started together with Leeming and Austin absent.