Big decisions to be made on future of Leeds Rhinos, Castleford Tigers and Wakefield Trinity stars
THE FUTURE of six Leeds Rhinos players who are in the final year of their contract - including marquee centre Konrad Hurrell - has yet to be decided.
Hurrell is listed as ‘not yet determined’ on the Rugby Football League’s list of players whose contract expires this autumn.
The other Leeds players in that category are winger Luke Briscoe, second-row Rhyse Martin stand-off Callum McLelland, centre/second-rower Alex Sutcliffe and forward King Vuniyayawa.
It is not clear which of those players has been offered a new deal by the club, but the Yorkshire Evening Post revealed last week Sutcliffe has rejected a contract offer from Leeds and will be joining a rival team next year, believed to be Castelford Tigers.
Hurrell joined Rhinos at the start of the 2019 season from Gold Coast Titans and has made it clear he would like a new deal, but is one of Rhinos’ high earners and has competition for his centre spot from Harry Newman, Jack Broadbent and Liam Sutcliffe, as well as Tom Briscoe, who has played there in recent games.
Luke Briscoe is in his third spell at Rhinos and been a regular this season.
Ankle surgery and an off-season groin problem have prevented McLelland - who moved to Leeds from Scotland rugby union in 2018 - from making an appearance so far this year.
Goal kicker Martin, the Papua New Guinea Test captain, was signed from Canterbury Bulldogs midway through 2019 and has been an automatic name on coach Richard Agar’s teamsheet, but is understood to be considering a return to Australia for personal reasons.
Vuniyayawa, the first Fijian to play for Leeds, joined the club from New Zealand Warriors last winter on a one-year deal.
The RFL’s list does not mention Rhinos’ 2020 player of the year Matt Prior.
His initial two-year deal expires in November, but Leeds have offered him the option of another season, though he is also understood to be considering a return to Australia.
Castleford Tigers forward Lewis Bienek is one of only seven Super League players listed as ‘terms not offered’.
Suaia Matagi, who is on a season-long loan at Tigers, has not been offered a deal by Huddersfield Giants, which clears the way for a permanent move to Castleford.
There are a number of Castleford players in the ‘not yet determined’ category, including outside-back Greg Eden, centre/second-rower Alex Foster and forwards Grant Millington, Adam Milner and Jesse Sene-Lefao.
Wakefield have 13 players whose future is yet to be decided.
They are Joe Arundel, Matty Ashurst, James Batchelor, Jordan Crowther, Chris Green, Olly Greensmith, Ryan Hampshire, Max Jowitt, Lee Kershaw, Alex Walker, Brad Walker, Josh Wood and Kyle Wood.
The other players who have not been offered terms are Hull outside-back Bureta Faraimo - who is being linked with a move to Castleford, Owen Harrison of Hull KR, Salford Red Devils’ former Rhinos stand-off Tui Lolohea, Warrington Wolves’ Sammy Kibula and Tony Clubb of Wigan Warriors.
Lolohea is expected to rejoin ex-Salford coach Ian Watson at Huddersfield for 2022.
Former Leeds players listed as ‘not yet determined’ include Jordan Lilley (Bradford Bulls), Jimmy Keinhorst (Hull KR), Jordan Thompson (Leigh Centurions), Corey Aston (London Broncos), Josh Walters (London Broncos) and Kyle Amor (St Helens).