Pre-season reached a major milestone for Leeds Rhinos yesterday as they contested their first friendly ahead of the 2023 season.
They lost to Wakefield Trinity at Headingley with an exciting looking young squad with Morgan Gannon, Derrell Olpherts and Ash Handley playing different roles to their traditional positions.
A much important aspect of pre-season is managing their squad and after the game Smith gave an update on two stars who are about to, or in the case of one have just started, pre-season training.
“I’ve bumped into Rhyse Martin a couple of times in the city and he looks in good shape. Zane Tetevano came back and got started back and he is never not in great shape.”
In terms of their being any further injuries in the wider squad, he confirmed that the surgeries for Mikolaj Oledzki, Luke Hooley and Cameron Smith alongside Nene MacDonald’s struggles against a three month injury being the only worries in his squad:
“The extended outs have already been documented. Surgery or Nene MacDonald’s injury which isn’t surgery but a three-month injury.”
That said, Jack Sinfield is still recovering from a groin problem:
“Jack had a groin issue a couple of weeks ago that helped him back out of training for 10 to 12 days then he had an illness on the back of that.
“He’s sort of back to full training, but for an 18 year old kid I wasn’t going to put him out.”
There were three players fans could have worried about as they left the field yesterday, and Smith gave an update on them:
“James McDonnell was always going to get 40 minutes. He played in the World Cup with Ireland He didn’t perhaps as much prep but was fit and rearing to go, I wanted to give him an opportunity in front of the home crowd.
“Kruise Leeming felt if he had had a few more minutes he would have been alright. In a proper game we probably don’t make that substitution.
“Ash Handley had some sort of core niggle. He was only going to play half a game anyway.”