Leeds Rhinos: 2015 squad to be confirmed in next 10 days - Hetherington

Gary Hetherington.
Gary Hetherington.
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LEEDS RHINOS’ squad for 2015 will be confirmed within the next 10 days, chief executive Gary Hetherington says.

Hetherington is planning to meet coach Brian McDermott this week and had refused to rule out more additions or departures.

Six-time Grand Final winner Ryan Bailey last week joined Leeds’ opening 2015 Super League opponents Hull KR after being released from the final year of his contract.

Another forward from this season’s senior squad, Chris Clarkson, will spend next term on loan at Widnes Vikings.

Aussie Adam Cuthbertson, from Newcastle Knights, is Rhinos’ only confirmed recruit for 2015, but Hetherington said he will be discussing the make-up of the squad with McDermott over the next few days.

Pre-season training began yesterday and Hetherington said: “I will be meeting up with Brian during the course of the week and we’ll have a bit of a catch-up and a review.

“Brian will be looking at the squad. One of the jobs is the squad make-up for next season and we’re hoping to address that by the end of next week.”

Hetherington declined to comment on whether Bailey will be replaced by a senior player from outside the club.

He said: “There will be quite a lot going on over the next few days and I don’t want to start pontificating about what might or might not be the case.”

Cuthbertson’s contract officially begins on December 1 and the chief executive said he is expected to arrive in England around the middle of this month.

“The players who are with England now will have five weeks off,” he added.

“But it is quite a novelty having people like Kevin Sinfield, Rob Burrow, Danny McGuire, Jamie Jones-Buchanan and Carl Ablett back in for training as early as this.”

Meanwhile, former Rhinos youth boss Stuart Wilkinson has joined Castleford Tigers as academy assistant-coach.

Salford owner Marwan Koukash has expressed his frustration at what he perceives as a lack of season ticket sales for next season.

While the Red Devils finished 10th in the recently-completed Super League, missing out on the end-of-season play-offs, they are expected to be a formidable force next year having brought in several key players.

The club beat off competition from other suitors to sign highly-rated full-back Ben Jones-Bishop from Leeds, while Kevin Locke and Michael Dobson, among others, have moved to the AJ Bell Stadium from the NRL.

But according to Koukash, Salford have sold less than 1,000 season tickets for next season, a return he is disappointed with given his investment into the club.

He said on Twitter: “I find it disappointing that less than 1,000 season tickets have been sold so far when I look at the squad I have brought together for 2015. Less than 5 people in every 1000 in Salford have bought into the Club, what does that tell me? is it the stadium? Rugby League? Salford?”

Adam Cuthbertson

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