Why David Fusitu’a was again absent for Leeds Rhinos today

Last Saturday, Leeds Rhinos were forced into a late change against Leigh Leopards.

In a surprise twist, winger David Fusitu’a was set to play centre – a role he has played in the past in the NRL.

However, he dropped out of the line up with young centre Levi Edwards instead coming into the starting 13 and young Alfie Edgell coming onto the bench after both impressed on Boxing Day against Wakefield Trinity.

Fusitu’a may have missed out but his former teammate in the NRL debuts for the Rhinos today in the shape of Sam Lisone.

Fusitu’a was reportedly key to Lisone joining the club which makes the reports from down under such a surprise.

The Mole of Wide World of Sports has claimed that Fusitu’a is unhappy at Leeds and wants another crack at the NRL.

The winger has one year left on his deal at Headingley and the Rhinos have several wingers now contracted to the club.

That said, the Mole then reported that Fusitu’a would see out the 2023 season with the Rhinos.

However, following this the winger didn’t feature against Bradford Bulls despite the fact Rohan Smith said he would play last week.

Speaking to the press after the game, assistant Chev Walker explained Fusitu’a’s absence today:

“Again, it’s just a case of getting a bit of training under his belt. There’s no rush for him, or anyone to be playing.

“When the time is right he’ll play.

“He’s training and he’s getting what he needs. He’s fit. He’s had some unluckiness with his illness and the smart thing is rather than pushing him through is to use other players.

“He’ll come right. I don’t think anyone has come to full speed until Round Four and all the games early rounds show that so it is a case of managing that and building players into it.”

He also explained why Derrell Olpherts was absent in what was a similar situation for the Rhinos with the winger starting at centre but pulling out through illness.

Walker said:

“It was just illness I think, he’s alright.”

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