Rohan Smith reveals he has made one decision for Round One team selection

Leeds Rhinos lost their last pre-season friendly against Super League opposition ahead of the new season yesterday as they came up short against Hull KR in a 26-4 defeat in which the Rhinos were “outplayed” according to coach Rohan Smith.

The Leeds boss named what he called earlier in the week his “strongest team” so it begs the question will the Rhinos look similar in Round One?

On Round One selection he said:

“No, I have a lot of decision still to make. We have 22-23 players that are ready and available. We have a lot of versatility in our squad, so it is a matter of settling on what’s the best balance for Round One.”

When asked if his spine were settled and if Ash Handley, who has played a lot of minutes at fullback in pre-season, stood a chance at the number one spot against Warrington Wolves, Smith confirmed: “Richie [Myler] will be playing fullback in Round One.”

Handley played in the centres yesterday alongside fellow winger David Fusitu’a. On their performance Smith said: “They both looked like centres to me.”

Meaning they could both feature there against Warrington Wolves.

This will come in handy as Smith confirmed Nene MacDonald won’t be ready for the game: “No he won’t be ready for Round One.

“I think I have said the last few times when asked about Nene that he wouldn’t be ready for Round One.

“Maybe when it first happened there was a chance but most doctors say 12-14 weeks, it’s hard everyone heels differently.

“If there was one game left of the season then he would play, but it’s Round One.”

Smith confirmed that fellow outside back Derrell Olpherts should return to full training next week after battling illness recently.

Meanwhile, he explained that James McDonnell’s absence was down to illness as well saying that the former Wigan Warriors man would have happily played but had a fever.

He is the third player to miss out through illness this pre-season after Olpherts and David Fusitu’a whose second half absence was explained as being down to a knock at halftime but is fine and was “frustrated” after being taken off.

Olpherts, McDonnell and Fusitu’a all should be available for Round One.

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