Here's why Leeds Rhinos signed Wakefield Trinity's Yusuf Aydin: coach Rohan Smith explains loan move

Coach Rohan Smith has explained Leeds Rhinos’ decision to sign Wakefield Trinity prop Yusuf Aydin on a two-week loan.
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The 21-year-old is set to make his debut away to Toulouse Olympique on Saturday.

Aydin played for Eastmoor Dragons as a youngster and was part of Trinity’s academy system before making his first team debut in 2020.

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A Turkish international, he has featured six times for Wakefield this year, including as a substitute in the home loss to Rhinos four months ago.

Yusuf Aydin will make his Rhinos debut against Toulouse on Saturday. Picture by Phil Daly/Leeds Rhinos.Yusuf Aydin will make his Rhinos debut against Toulouse on Saturday. Picture by Phil Daly/Leeds Rhinos.
Yusuf Aydin will make his Rhinos debut against Toulouse on Saturday. Picture by Phil Daly/Leeds Rhinos.

He has also been on loan at York City Knights and Sheffield Eagles in the Betfred Championship.

Zane Tetevano, Matt Prior, Tom Holroyd and Muizz Mustapha are all suspended, leaving Mikolaj Oledzki as the only available specialist prop in Rhinos’ full-time squad.

Smith said: “We were on the lookout for some reinforcements in our middle unit, given the guys who are out suspended at the moment.

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“We had a conversation on Tuesday and it all happened pretty quickly from there.

“He is a good, hard worker and he is really keen to get involved in a new environment and test himself, even if it is only for a few weeks.

“He wants to experience something new and be challenged and challenge himself.”

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Leeds Rhinos sign Wakefield Trinity prop on short-term loan

Smith insisted Rhinos weren’t looking for loan players, until Prior’s two-match ban for a late hit on kicker Danny Richardson during last Saturday’s Magic Weekend win over Castleford Tigers.

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Rhinos appealed against the B grading, but that was rejected.

The coach added: “There’s been names thrown up and offered a little bit, but we have been focused on trying to get people back from injury and suspension and working with what we’ve got.

“I have seen Yusuf play and I liked what I saw, but it was more of a timing issue, with four middle unit players suspended at the moment.”

Joe Hird is a front-rower who has impressed for Rhinos’ reserves and on loan with League One clubs Cornwall and Hunslet this year.

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But Smith said: “I think at this stage in Joe’s development he needs to be playing some reserves and some League One-standard.

“Yusuf has played some Super League and been around that environment for the past few years so it’s a good fit for us in the short-term.”

The transfer deadline for this season is next week and Leeds have been linked with former Wigan Warriors centre Oliver Gildart, who is out of favour at Wests Tigers.

Gildart is set to remain in Australia next year with NRL newcomers Redcliffe Dolphins, but could be available for the rest of 2022. Smith confirmed Rhinos have the “potential and capability of making some late moves”, but said “nothing is set in stone”.

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Of Gildart, he said: “I am not aware of any news there, despite what has been broken.”

But pushed on the matter, he added: “There’s always a chance.”

Rhinos travelled to Toulouse on Friday, giving them a day to acclimatise before the match.

Kick-off has been pushed back two hours to 8pm local time, when the temperature is forecast to be 37 degrees Celsius (98.6 Fahrenheit).

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“We have been readying ourselves, trying to train in the hottest parts of the day here,” Smith confirmed.

“Comparatively that’s not the same, but we’ve been out in the sun and we’ve been doing some work indoors in a heated facility as well.

“We have been doing what we can to educate our players around dealing with the heat and how to cool down and effectively hydrate.

"It is hot for both teams, the temperatures that are forecast.

"I don’t think anyone really gets used to playing in those conditions so it’s the same for both teams.”