Leeds Rhinos have confirmed their latest signing for 2023 this morning in the shape of Castleford Tigers winger Derrell Olpherts who joins the club on a two-year deal.
Many have questioned the move especially as Leeds have two star wingers already at the club in the shape of Ash Handley and David Fusitu’a as well as youngster Liam Tindall and have already confirmed the signing of exciting young back Luis Roberts from Leigh Centurions.
So, why bring in Olpherts as well? Well part of it seems down to the versatility he will add which you can read about here.
But also his stats make him Leeds’ ideal winger for Rohan Smith’s style of play. Smith has relied on his wingers for big carries to get his side out of trouble and often the Rhinos struggled when the likes of Handley were unavailable.
Handley was Super League’s top metre maker in 2022 with 3646 metres but Olpherts wasn’t far behind in third place with 3201 and an average gain of 7.36 metres.
On top of this, there was no player who made more tackle busts that Olpherts’ astonishing 131 busts in 2022.
Tackle busts became a key asset of Leeds’ game under Rohan Smith last year as they looked to generate second plays off the likes of Zak Hardaker and Harry Newman so having Olpherts again fits the style Smith is trying to implement.
Crucially, Olpherts is no stranger to a try scoring four in one game against Hull FC last season.
So, an exciting signing for the Rhinos, Rohan Smith certainly thinks so saying: “We are pleased to confirm Derrell’s signing. He is a talented player who can play anywhere in the backline. He showed last season in particular that he is an outstanding try scorer as well and I look forward to seeing him as part of our existing backline.”