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Rohan Smith names surprising team with star signing in new position

Rohan Smith has named a surprising team for this afternoon’s clash between Leeds Rhinos and the Catalans Dragons.

Smith has dropped new signing Derrell Olpherts to the bench whilst moving fellow new recruit Nene MacDonald onto the wing, a position Smith has been vocal about MacDonald suiting.

This sees Rhyse Martin start at centre alongside Harry Newman as he continues his return from injury which is perhaps why Olpherts features on the bench.

Corey Johnson also makes his first appearance off the bench in place of the suspended James Bentley with Kruise Leeming of course not included following his request to leave the club.

Smith has dramatically changed his pack with Sam Walters starting  at prop with Zane Tetevano dropping into the backrow.

As for Catalans Dragons, Tom Johnstone starts after injury concerns with rumours  he had missed training this week.

Star halfback Mitchell Pearce returns allowing Adam Keighran to move to the centres with Matthieu Laguerre out injured.

Matt Whitley is also back to feature in the backrow alongside Manu Ma’u.

There is still no Sam Tomkins.

The game kicks off at 13:00 and coverage starts on Channel 4 from 12:30.

The Rhinos haven’t beaten Catalans Dragons at home since 2019 in a game where they went down to 12 men when Brad Singleton was sent off.

That year they defeated the Dragons twice at home and until that point had only lost three times to the Dragons at Headingley.

That number has leapt up to five in the last few years.

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