Leeds Rhinos’ golden generation was built on young players who developed into legendary players.
The Rhinos are hoping for success again and have a core of players who have developed over recent years into first teamers and behind them the next batch of youngsters is developing.
However, Rohan Smith has been very honest about his approach to young players when asked about the chances of players like Luis Roberts and Levi Edwards starting the season at centre with doubts over Harry Newman and Nene MacDonald.
“Luis has played Super League so he has a bit more of a proven path, Levi has only just turned 19. There is an undermentioned difference between playing Super League once or twice than every week,” he said.
“All players need some kind of stage progression into an every week player. Sometimes a young kid jumps in and stay but that’s a rarity.
“Those kids will get their chance when veterans are out but they won’t get their opportunity by playing, more veteran players will get first opportunity because they’ve earnt that right.”
On his Round One team selection, Smith said:
“No different this evening to this morning, as far as who might play in round one. It was positive to see all four do well. Derrell grew up playing centre, Ash Handley is a good footballer all round, he looked like a centre today and he also looked like a fullback but he is a winger, so that’s a good sign.
“Roberts was good, I see him as a winger and centre going forward. He’s a big kid and good kid.
“Levi Edwards did quite well today.
“Obviously Harry Newman will be one 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.
“Who plays round one might be different to Round Two and Round Three.”