Leeds Rhinos made nearly 10 signings ahead of the 2023 Super League season and two of them debuted against Leigh Leopards including their one and only NRL signing Sam Lisone after his arrival from Gold Coast Titans over the winter.
A really good player in the NRL in the past, boss Rohan Smith made the bold claim that Lisone has yet to reach his full potential.
“Sam was steady I thought, he hasn’t played since September and he was training on his own whist his visa was taking its time,” Smith said of his debut.
“He’s got some work to do to get anywhere near his best, I don’t know if he knows his best or has seen it. He’s played well in the NRL and been a good player there.
“But I have really high expectations of where he can get to. Steady hit out today, he was good.”
He also praised Luis Roberts who scored on his debut against his former club the Leigh Leopards on Saturday:
“Roberts was good, the intention was for Fusitu’a to play right centre today. He had an illness yesterday and was probably a bit worse today so big red got a shot at centre and had a test against Leutele.
“He took his try well running last play, he composed himself at the point of content and again against the fullback.”
Interestingly, Smith also hinted that new winger Derrell Olpherts and new centre Nene MacDonald could actually play in different positions: “Derrell grew up playing centre, Nene MacDonald is a very accomplished centre but probably has played his best rugby on the wing. Fusitu’a can play at centre as well. We have created good versatility, that’s what I want.”