Leeds Rhinos have confirmed that Liam Sutcliffe will leave the club at the end of the season to join Hull FC on a three-year deal. Here, we take a look at potential options for the number four jersey next year.
A player that is quite strongly rumoured to be joining the Rhinos is Nene Macdonald, who currently plays for Leigh Centurions.
Though he is under contract at the Leythers for 2023, we know that Rohan Smith has a very good relationship with MacDonald, with the pair working together at Norths Devils last year and even living together in Sydney.
Macdonald has 21 tries in as many games so far this year and is playing a big part in Leigh’s promotion push. Should they get Super League status, Leigh will be over the limit for overseas players and so letting Macdonald go would benefit both sides.
Leutele is currently without a club for 2023, despite being impressive so far in 2022. The Huddersfield centre has been immense in Super League, with nine tries and four assists in 13 games.
Although he is 32, his experience would be crucial with an NRL Grand Final and nearly 200 career appearances to his name. Leeds could bring him in on a one or two-year deal and he could be used as a stop-gap player whilst the likes of Max Simpson and Levi Edwards develop their game and grow into becoming regular first-team players.
Olpherts, who is out of contract at the end of the year, is heavily rumoured to be joining the Rhinos next year, with many journalists saying a deal has already been done.
Olpherts is a winger by trade, so it could see current Rhino David Fusitu’a move inside to allow the current Castleford man to play in his natural position. Fusitu’a played 21 times at centre in the NRL, scoring 12 tries.
Leeds may not have to look into the transfer market for their next number four. Zak Hardaker, though centre is not his preferred position, could slot into the role with ease after spells there with Wigan and on the international stage. His record at centre is better than most, with 27 tries in 58 games, just under a try every other game.
This could allow Jack Walker, who is out on loan at Hull FC for the remainder of the season, to return to the club and play at fullback regularly as the understudy to Richie Myler who could also be used as the utility backup.