This weekend sees the battle of the Smith’s as veteran Tony Smith takes his Hull FC side to Headingley to face his nephew Rohan and the Leeds Rhinos.
Both teams will be seeking improvements from their round one fixtures although it was the senior Smith who will come into this fixture happier given his side’s victory over Castleford at the MKM.
The victory looked comfortable until the 60 minute mark when Castleford sparked a mini comeback but in the end they fell two points shy, meaning Tony Smith kickstarted his era at the Black and Whites with a 32-30 victory.
As for Rohan Smith it was a terrible evening at the Halliwell Jones on opening night as a resurgent Warrington Wolves steamrolled the Rhinos, killing the game off by half-time courtesy of a 30-0 lead.
The Wire ran out 42-10 victors in the end with their pack dominating however there were flashes from the Rhinos including new signing Justin Sangare, who Smith will look to in round two.
He has named Sangare in the squad however it’s another new name that will catch the headlines as the Leeds fans will get a first sight at Papua New Guinea star Nene Macdonald.
Nene Macdonald has been named in Rohan Smith's Leeds Rhinos squad to face Hull FC at Headingley this Friday, kick off 8pm, and the PNG international could make his debut for the club
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Macdonald arrived from Leigh in the off season but has yet to be seen in the amber and blue following an injury that he sustained at the World Cup when representing PNG.
His addition to the squad will be huge news and a huge benefit to Smith’s plans as he had to use a make shift centre pairing last week in which all five backs seemed to assume the role.
Typically it was Ash Handley and David Fusitu’a who played in the outside back roles but the return of Macdonald will allow one of those to revert to the wing.
The Rhinos are still without Harry Newman, Mikolaj Oledzki, James Bentley, Luke Hooley and Max Simpson through injury.
Speaking today, Rohan Smith revealed that Bentley, Oledzki and Newman are all progressing well:
“They are progressing well. James Bentley trained well today, Mikolaj Oledzki trained well and Harry Newman is going well.
“I am not going to forecast who is back first. It won’t be Mikolaj.”
He also said that Newman and Bentley could be back in the next few weeks but their injuries are hard to judge.