Rohan Smith names strong Leeds Rhinos squad for New Zealand clash as star player returns

Though Leeds Rhinos lost the Grand Final against St Helens, Leeds are still yet to play in their final game of 2022.

That’s because their season is set to conclude against New Zealand on Saturday night in a friendly that will act as a warm-up game for New Zealand ahead of the World Cup whilst Leeds use it to bid farewell to some of their star players.

These include Tom Briscoe and Liam Sutcliffe who are two of the few remaining members of the 2015 treble winners.

Sutcliffe made his Leeds debut in 2013 as a teenager and was tipped to be the next Kevin Sinfield. He won his first Challenge Cup in 2014 but missed the finals in 2015 through injury. However, he starred at centre in Grand Final and cup final wins in 2017 and 2020 respectively.

As for Briscoe, he debuted in 2014 making the move from Hull FC and scoring a hat-trick on debut against Hull KR. He’d go on to score in the 2014 cup final win over Castleford which was the first of nine major final tries he scored in five major final wins.

He scored a record five tries in the 2015 Challenge Cup Final win and a brace in the 2017 Grand Final as well as the opener in the 2020 cup final.

Briscoe also scored in Leeds’ famous comeback win over Huddersfield in 2015 to win the League Leaders’ Shield as part of the treble. He was also Leeds’ top scorer in 2018.

Former teammate Adam Cuthbertson is also set to make his final appearance of his career after spells at York and Featherstone since leaving Leeds in 2020 after playing in the Challenge Cup Final for the Rhinos.

Meanwhile, star hooker Brad Dwyer is also leaving as is Muizz Mustapha to Hull FC and Castleford respectively.

These five are all included in a strong squad named by Rohan Smith which includes 15 of the 17 named in the Grand Final against St Helens with the only two to miss out being Mikolaj Oledzki due to England duties and Cameron Smith through injury.

Aidan Sezer returns from a head knock.

Here’s the squad in full:

Meanwhile, New Zealand will have Wigan backrow Willie Isa and Catalans centre – who is set to join Wigan in 2023 according to reports – in their squad to bulk it out without six NRL Grand Final stars.

The game will also act as Thomas Leuluai’s farewell prior to retirement.

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