Rohan Smith’s team selection has almost been taken out of his hands this week.
The Rhinos are without four of the players who defeated Castleford last week including two try scorers and the always elusive Zak Hardaker. Worse is that they’re without six of the side who demolished Hull FC 62-16 in Leeds’ best win of the season which came just a fortnight ago.
How times can change.
The Rhinos have two young men in the halves in Jack Sinfield – who replaced Liam Sutcliffe there in a late switch – and Corey Johnson.
They have a pack with an average age of 21 and a 17-year-old at centre next to a second row as Rohan Smith includes three teenagers in his starting 13.
Reflecting on his team selection on Twitter, Smith joked about everything thrown at Leeds this week and emphasised how excited he was to see one young man play.
“It never rains but it pours a little bit this week but we’re excited by who’s out there tonight, Smith said, “I’ve been waiting for Max to get a turn an opportunity. We’ve been reasonably healthy in that position. It’s good opportunity for Max.”
— Leeds Rhinos (@leedsrhinos) July 16, 2022
There was no comment about Yusuf Aydin’s surprise absence after being brought in on loan this week.
Despite the notable absentees and Aydin’s bizarre absence, the Leeds line-up is one that excites me.
Max Simpson is electric and we could see the best of him under Rohan Smith given the space Leeds have been creating under their new coach.
I also enjoy watching Jack Sinfield play. A really smart player, he’ll organise the Leeds attack well despite his young age.
The most exciting thing for me though is seeing Sam Walters start at prop. I believe he could develop into a really good asset for Leeds there and the stats back that up averaging more metres than the likes of Oledzki and Prior in terms of metres per carry.