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“We’ll keep our eyes open” – Leigh Leopards look to market after injury crisis

Leigh Leopards

Leigh Leopards have been hit with an injury crisis and could be forced into the market to remedy it with a move for former target David Armstrong possibly back on the cards.

The Leopards had been looking to recruit in their backs for much of the off-season and had initially sought out Brisbane Broncos flyer Tristan Sailor but they were knocked back with the NRL runners-up unwilling to release their man.

As such the Challenge Cup holders pivoted elsewhere and that saw them eye up David Armstrong, the Newcastle Knights’ youngster who can play both winger and full-back.

They’re two positions that the Leopards have immense starting talent at with the experienced Gareth O’Brien, Tom Briscoe and Josh Charnley occupying the starting shirts, however, there’s a lack of depth.

That depth is now set to be tested even more with Tom Briscoe having left the field injured against St Helens and set to be sidelined for six weeks, something Lam confirmed in his press conference yesterday.

As well as a lack of depth there’s also a lack of youth with all three current starters on the wrong side of 30, making the 22-year-old Armstrong an appealing project for Leigh to work with and develop.

Fox Sports had reported on Leigh’s interest in Armstrong, revealing: “A Knights rising star has reportedly emerged as a target for Super League team Leigh Leopards.

“David Armstrong was promoted to Newcastle’s top-30 list for 2024 after starring in the NSW Cup for the Knights last season, scoring 15 tries from just 18 games.”

There’s just one problem in Leigh’s pursuit of Armstrong with Fox adding: “Armstrong is a talented outside back who the Knights are high on and are unlikely to let walk without a fight.”

Lam was still asked about the prospect of Armstrong coming over to fill the void left with Briscoe’s injury.

He responded: “I think it’s always an opportunity or chance to keep our eyes open for players like that and we’ve made it very clear that he’s a player that I’ve followed, supported and I like the way he plays.

“I think it’s one that we’ll keep in our back pocket until an opportunity comes up, or keep our eyes open for that and other players who are available to make our team better. He is certainly one of them.

“We’ll probably know a little bit more about that as the season unfolds.”

England international’s transfer hinders Leigh Leopards’ recruitment

Dom Young has left Newcastle Knights to join Sydney Roosters for 2024.

Dom Young has left Newcastle Knights to join Sydney Roosters for 2024.

One of the key reasons why Newcastle Knights are so unwilling to allow Armstrong to leave their set-up is that they no longer have 25-try Dom Young.

The England winger set the Knights’ NRL season record for most tries in a campaign when he clocked up 25 in 2023, the 6 foot seven inch winger being vital in their run to the play-offs.

Newcastle turned their season around as they won their last nine games of the season before then defeating Canberra Raiders in the first round of the play-offs.

They fell short against New Zealand Warriors but they’re now without Young who has moved to Sydney Roosters, creating a void on the wing and causing the Knights to be wary of letting Armstrong go.

If Leigh can’t land Armstrong it’s unclear what avenue they’ll look down to sign their pacey cover on the wings and at full-back, but even if they do find an overseas recruit then they’d have to address their quota spots with the club currently maxed out.

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