Aussie Jai Field emerges as possible target for Leeds Rhinos
AUSTRALIAN BACK Jai Field is a potential target for Leeds Rhinos, but only one of several possible options.
Field, 22, is a free-agent after being released by St George-Illawarra.
He can play in the outside-backs or as a pivot and Leeds have been made aware of his availability.
“He is a player I know from my time at St George,” said Rhinos boss Richard Agar who spent the 2017 season on the NRL club’s backroom staff.
“We have got a good rating on him, we think he is a good young player with a lot of years in front of him.
“Tentatively we have spoken to his agent, but at this time we haven’t got a [overseas quota] spot.”
Leeds’ Australian-born forward Rhyse Martin has applied for a Papua New Guinea passport and if that is granted it will – combined with the departure of Nathaniel Peteru earlier in pre-season – open up a quota space.
But Agar insisted they have yet to make a firm decision on who they want to bring in.
“We have got to weigh up what’s the best fit for our squad in terms of positions,” he added.
“We think we need a utility-back and he [Field] would certainly fill that bill, but we also think we need a middle forward too.
“We will make that decision when the spot comes and it might be a different decision in two weeks’ time to what it is today.”
Only one of Leeds’ four new signings, scrum-half Luke Gale, has been named in the starting lineup for tomorrow’s Wetherby Whaler Festive Challenge against Wakefield Trinity at Emerald Headingley. Hooker Kruise Leeming (knee) and second-row Alex Mellor (groin), have been ruled out by injury.
Australian prop Matt Prior is due to arrive before the new year, in time for a warm weather training camp in Spain.
He could make his debut in Jamie Jones’ testimonial game – which is also a benefit for Rob Burrow – at home to Bradford Bulls on Sunday, January 12.
The departure of marquee recruit Trent Merrin, along with nine other players who featured for the first team in 2019, has left Rhinos with space on their salary cap, but the club have insisted they are prepared to wait for the right player to become available rather than rush into a signing.