One of the worst kept secrets in rugby league is out now that Leeds Rhinos have confirmed the signing of Derrell Olpherts on a two-year deal from the Castleford Tigers.
However, many may question the move. After all, Leeds have star wingers Ash Handley and David Fusitu’a, youngster Liam Tindall and this week have already confirmed the signing of 2021 Championship Young Player of the Year Luis Roberts from Leigh who is also an exciting prospect on the wing.
That said, Leeds have lost Jack Walker for 2023 after he moved to Bradford yesterday and are also set to lose Zak Hardaker so their cover for centre – especially with Liam Sutcliffe headed to Hull FC – and fullback has diminished.
This points to where Olpherts might fit in at Headingley: as cover for the entire backline as he himself reference when talking to the Rhinos website upon his move to Headingley.
He notes that he only really became a winger in Super League and that he can play fullback and centre and is hoping to bring that versatility to his time at Leeds.
He said: “It is a great time to be at this club and I am looking forward to getting stuck in. I am looking to elevate my game here at the Rhinos. I am looking forward to working under Rohan Smith, I am sure he will help me develop my game and develop me as a person as well.
“I didn’t really play winger until I came into Super League and I played my rugby before then as a centre or full back. I am happy to play at centre as well, I know that is something that Rohan has spoken about, and I’ll be working hard to add that versatility to my game and achieve good things here.
“The squad did fantastic last year and to get to a Grand Final just shows how much effort and skill there is around the place. Hopefully I can add to the squad and help us go one step further.
“The back line are all exciting players. It is good to be an addition to that and be around those players, challenging myself to be as good as I can be and working with my new team mates. There is great competition within the group with everyone challenged to get a starting spot and that brings a lot of excitement.
“I will be one of the first players back in for pre-season and I can’t wait. Obviously the senior guys got to a Grand Final last year and there are players involved in the World Cup but I am excited to get in and get involved with the talented young players here at Leeds. Headingley is always an exciting place to play and I am looking forward to making it my new home,”