The star-studded line-up Rohan Smith could name at Leeds Rhinos in 2023

Leeds Rhinos returned to the Grand Final for the first time in five years last season but the task in 2023 has to be going one step further.

There has been plenty of change in the Rhinos squad ahead of the new season, but how will Rohan Smith line his side up as they chase silverware?

Fullback: Richie Myler
At one stage there was thought that Leeds would face a three-way dilemma at fullback in 2023 but now that Jack Walker is headed to Bradford Bulls and the Rhinos have been unable to tie down Zak Hardaker who joins Leigh Leopards, Richie Myler is almost guaranteed the fullback spot. Yes, Luke Hooley might have something to say about that, but the quality Myler brings to the Leeds attack will see him nailed on in that role as Hooley begins his development at the club.

Wingers: David Fusitu’a & Ash Handley
Two powerful wingers who fit the Rohan Smith style by getting Leeds on the front foot with big carries. The two also have great finishing ability but will have to be at their best to keep new signings Luis Roberts and Derrell Olpherts off the wings as well as Liam Tindall.

Centres: Harry Newman & Nene MacDonald
After months of speculation, Leeds Rhinos finally nailed down a centre for 2023 and it was Leigh Leopards man Nene MacDonald. Alongside Harry Newman, the two will be a fearsome centre pairing though with Newman likely to miss the start of the season, it could be Derrell Olpherts who begins the year at centre.

Halfbacks: Blake Austin & Aidan Sezer
With little movement in terms of looking to bring spine players in, Leeds will likely stick with former Canberra partnership Blake Austin and Aidan Sezer in 2023 hoping that the two don’t suffer quite so much with injuries.

Props: Mikolaj Oledzki & Zane Tetevano
2022 Dream Team Prop Mikolaj Oledzki is nailed on to start and will hope to continue his development. The question is, who will join him? It certainly won’t be Matt Prior now that he has retired. It could be new signing Sam Lisone but he was always an impact sub in the NRL, so it could very well by Zane Tetevano who finished last season strongly.

Hooker: Jarrod O’Connor
As the season drew to a close and the play-offs began, Rohan Smith settled on O’Connor for the big games due to his tenacity in defence. Thus, he could become Leeds’ starting nine next year to give Leeds some early stability in games. It would be a big call at nine if he did.

Second-rowers: James Bentley & Rhyse Martin
With James McDonnell and Leon Ruan signed, Leeds have some exciting new young edge forwards in 2023 especially with outstanding youngster Morgan Gannon already at the club and pushing for a place in the side though he could feature at stand-off having trained there pre-season. However, Leeds’ first choice backrows at the end of last season James Bentley and Rhyse Martin were outstanding at the end of last season and will start the season as the first choice backrowers.

Loose-Forward: Cameron Smith
Smith is now cemented as Leeds’ first choice 13 due to his work ethic but also the way he moves the ball adding an extra dimension to the Rhinos attack. He has also been awarded the number 13 shirt.

Substitutes: Kruise Leeming, Justin Sangare, Sam Lisone, Morgan Gannon
Leeds could have a blockbuster bench with two impact props in new recruits Lisone and Justin Sangare at the club. Sangare really caught the eye at the World Cup and, like Lisone, is a superb impact sub as England saw when they played France. Add the speed and skill of Kruise Leeming and Leeds could have one of the best benches in the league especially with a quality youngster like Morgan Gannon able to be called upon.

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