The Super League season is almost upon us and as ever there are huge question marks over how well the country’s elite rugby league teams are geared up for the forthcoming campaign.
Leeds Rhinos completed an historic treble last season, winning the League Leaders’ Shield, Grand Final and Ladbrokes Challenge Cup, but having seen a trio of influential players consigned to history how equipped are the Rhinos to emulate such success?
The Headingley outfit have bid farewell to Kevin Sinfield, Jamie Peacock and Kylie Leuluai and also seen their pre-season preparations derailed by a Boxing Day flood at Kirkstall.
It could be May before the Rhinos return to their training base but the set-back hasn’t put the dampeners on the enthusiasm of Leeds fans.
The club is on course to achieve its best ticket sales in 10 years and it’s clear fans think the likes of Keith Galloway and Brett Ferres – both new arrivals – can go some way to filling the void left by the high-profile departures.
Galloway, joining from NRL side Wests Tigers, well take on Leuluai’s No 8 jersey and admits it will be hard to replace the Rhinos stalwart.
Looking to make his own way the Aussie says he not going to be the ‘new Jamie Peacock’ but instead make a name for himself in his own right.
Fellow new arrival Ferres, a summer signing from Huddersfield, has already been given the seal of approval by fellow forward Brett Delaney.
“He is an international player and he will bring a lot to the team, especially in attack. He is a great player so he is a good buy for us,” Delaney told the Yorkshire Evening Post.
Leeds are 4/1 third favourites to retain their League Leaders crown this year, but while the bookies feel Wigan and St Helens are better-placed to challenge this year it’s clear fans and players alike expect the good times to continue at Headingley.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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