Though the season is almost two months away exactly, there is already some big injury and availability news.
So, here is a round up of the injury situations at Warrington Wolves and Leeds Rhinos as they prepare for the opening game.
Joe Philbin is in recovery from an ACL injury and has been seen so far doing running work but reportedly won’t be fit for the start of the season. A tweet from the prop captioned “Comeback SZN” is positive news though.
Connor Wrench is in the same situation, also recovering from an ACL and also unable to make the season start. When both players will return isn’t known but they’re unexpected to be fit come week one.
Whilst new signing Gil Dudson isn’t injured he could miss games through suspension following his three game ban for a headbutt in former club Catalans playoff loss to opening day opponent Leeds. Dudson didn’t play for Wales during the World Cup so it could be the case that those games were served in pre-season fixtures matches.
Star centre Harry Newman has struggled throughout his career with injuries and had to miss the Grand Final and a potential World Cup call-up due to a hamstring injury however the 22-year-old could be set to start 2023, but may face a race for fitness.
New signing from Leigh, Nene Macdonald, had his World Cup with Papua New Guinea cut short as he had to leave the field injured in his nation’s quarter-final defeat to England. It’s believed that the injury has a three month timeline which would potentially see him miss the opening game of the season against Warrington on February 16th.
Just this week (14th December) Rhinos announced that Mikolaj Oledzki has had surgery on a shoulder injury that was managed throughout the latter stages of the season. He will now rehab and be sidelined for 12-14 weeks which would rule him out till approximately April meaning he’ll be racing to get back for rivals weekend in round eight where Rhinos host Huddersfield Giants (9th April).
As well as news on Oledzki it was announced that new signing Luke Hooley will also be out for up to 12 weeks following a simple trip in training, he’s undergone surgery and will likely not be available for selection until round five when Rhinos visit Castleford (16th March).
Warrington Wolves: 1 Matt Dufty, 2 Josh Thewlis, 3 Peter Mata’utia, 4 Stefan Ratchford, 5 Matty Ashton, 6 George Williams, 7 Josh Drinkwater, 8 James Harrison, 9 Daryl Clark, 10 Paul Vaughan, 11 Ben Currie, 12 Matty Nicholson, 13 Josh McGuire. Substitutes: 14 Sam Kasiano, 16 Danny Walker, 18 Tom Mikaele, 19 Joe Bullock.
Leeds Rhinos: 1 Richie Myler, 2 David Fusitu’a, 12 Rhyse Martin, 16 Derrell Olpherts, 5 Ash Handley, 6 Blake Austin, 7 Aidan Sezer, 10 Zane Tetevano, 14 Jarrod O’Connor, 22 Sam Walters, 11 James Bentley, 20 Morgan Gannon, 13 Cameron Smith. Substitutes: 9 Kruise Leeming, 15 Sam Lisone, 17 Justin Sangare, 25 James Donaldson.