Leigh speak out on Nene Macdonald exit with friendly match ‘part of transfer deal’

It’s been an ongoing story in the off-season that Leeds Rhinos have been pursuing an ‘unnamed player’ to complete their squad and they finally have him.

That man was always going to be Nene Macdonald and, in no surprise to anybody, Maconald has joined Leeds from Leigh Leopards and will reunite with his former North Devils coach Rohan Smith.

Smith, who took Leeds from 11th all the way to the Super League Grand Final last season, will now be bolstered by the Papua New Guinea international arriving at Headingley.

Macdonald was Leigh’s top try scorer last season, crossing the line 27 times in 27 games as his side won promotion to the Super League.

It’s a big loss for the newly-promoted side, however there is a little side note to this transfer deal.

In a tweet posted announcing the departure of McDonald, Leigh shared that they would play host to Leeds Rhinos in their first pre-season game at Leigh Sports Village.

“Leigh are to host @leedsrhinos in our first warm up game as Leopards on Sun 22nd January, as part of the Nene Macdonald transfer deal,” the tweet reads.

The newly named Leopards then shared a graphic and tribute to Macdonald but it’s caught the eye of many that they’re citing this pre-season friendly as being ‘part of the transfer deal.’

The news comes after owner Derek Beaumont had been teasing an announcement by tweeting videos of himself on safari highlighting Rhinos and also elephants as well.

Leeds Rhinos also announced: “The two teams will compete for the Bev Risman Trophy in honour of the celebrated dual international who served both Leigh and Leeds clubs with distinction.”

Leigh noted that: “Risman kicked four goals in Leeds’ famous 11-10 victory over Wakefield Trinity in the 1968 Challenge Cup Final, known as the ‘Watersplash Final’.”

In a press released Leigh quoted Head of Rugby, Chris Chester, who made the following comments about Macdonald.

“The club would like to thank Nene for his effort in our promotion winning season, and everyone here wishes him all the best on his move to Leeds.

He added about the friendly match: “We are really looking forward to our first game as Leigh Leopards and the players can’t wait to play in front of the fans at Leigh Sports Village.

“Leeds had a terrific second half to last season and got through to the Grand Final, which was a great achievement. It will be a good test for both sides, who intend to field the strongest available squads.”

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