LEEDS RHINOS boss Brian McDermott expects new leaders to emerge this season.
Fourteen members of Rhinos’ 2015 Grand Final-winning team have been named in the initial 19-man squad for tomorrow’s First Utility Super League opener at home to Warrington Wolves.
The missing three are club legends Kevin Sinfield, Jamie Peacock and Kylie Leuluai, who all played their final competitive game at Old Trafford four months ago.
McDermott is aware Rhinos have lost a huge amount of experience, but is relishing seeing how others step forward. “I am pretty confident about where things are at. What we probably under-estimate is the desire of a Liam Sutcliffe or a Brad Singleton to take the reins of those players who have left.
“The Carl Abletts and Brett Delaneys have to step up again. It isn’t stepping into the breach with a bit of anxiety, they are looking forward to it.
“Ryan Hall, Kallum Watkins, Zak Hardaker, they are ready to take that big step and become leaders in their own right.”
Recruits Keith Galloway and Brett Ferres are set to make their competitive debut tomorrow. Beau Falloon has been named in Rhinos’ initial squad, but is a major doubt due to a broken toe.
Sutcliffe could make his first Super League appearance since June.
He made made his comeback from a serious knee injury in Ablett’s testimonial game last month.