There has been a lot of talk recently about Leeds Rhinos hooker options following Kruise Leeming’s request to leave the club.
However, Jarrod O’Connor gave the perfect response as he starred in Leeds’ 32-22 win over Catalans Dragons on Saturday.
When asked after the game about the number nine role, Rohan Smith gave the biggest hint yet that he would not be going into the market to find Kruise Leeming’s replacement:
“I think we’ll keep playing Jarrod.
“Jarrod played really well. He had a couple of moments that he would like back, which is uncharacteristic on defensive movements.
“He brings energy and overall he’s just a great teammate, he wants to play for the other people, he wants to play for the name on the front of the jersey and not the name on the back.
“He’s selfless, he’s fit and he competes hard and he’s starting to trust himself and back himself a bit more.
“He’s a tremendous kid who’s got plenty to work on, and he’s got Corey Johnson right on his heels. Corey is a more natural dummy-half but those guys are good mates and they’ll want to challenge each other. I’m comfortable with where they’re at.”
He went on to give huge praise to Johnson further cementing the idea that Leeds won’t bring in a number nine:
“He’s a player, he knows how to play the game and he likes how I want him to try and play. He did some great things last year in very tough conditions, he played at Magic and covered the most distance but I think he was hampered by his body last year. He’s had surgery on his back.
“He’s lean, he’s fit and it’s very early days for him yet but in my head he’s a real prospect for the short term and the long term.
“He’s a good kid who’s battled hard to get that opportunity today and that’ll be the first of plenty more for him.”