Leeds Rhinos duo Jack Broadbent and Sam Walters pushing for Super League call up after impressing against Huddersfield Giants

Youngsters Jack Broadbent and Sam Walters have given Leeds Rhinos’ coaching staff something to think about with their performances in the pre-season hit-out at Huddersfield Giants.

Monday, 15th March 2021, 6:06 pm

Broadbent began the 22-16 defeat at centre before switching to full-back, scored a long-range try, set up another and made several vital tackles.

His ability to cover two positions where Rhinos have injuries could push him into contention for the Betfred Super League derby against Wakefield Trinity at Emerald Headingley in 11 days’ time and team boss Richard Agar praised his “professionalism, attitude, talk and communication”.

He said: “He is a super young professional who plays in multiple roles and knows his job in whichever role he goes into.

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Jack Broadbent held off Jermaine McGillvary to score a long-range try for Rhinos at Huddersfield. Picture by Tony Johnson.
Jack Broadbent held off Jermaine McGillvary to score a long-range try for Rhinos at Huddersfield. Picture by Tony Johnson.

“Whatever job you ask him to do he will do it to the absolute best of his ability and his talk and communication is like that every day at work.”

Second-rower Walters played throughout and also caught his coach’s eye.

“We wanted to put our guys under the pump and under fatigue and make them physically and mentally push through some barriers, rather than on and off and on and off,” Agar said.

“I thought Sam did great. He has shown when he plays first grade he likes to take it to them, he has got some aggression and when he carries the ball and gets his lines and timing right and in the right areas, he has proved to be a handful.

Sam Walters, right, training in the snow earlier in pre-season. Picture by Phil Daly/Leeds Rhinos.

“Because he is so tall, he is hard to handle around offloads. We are really happy with what Sammy did, he has impressed us every time he has played first grade and he has definitely given us something to think about.”

Fijian import King Vuniyayawa made his first Leeds appearance, off the bench, against Giants.

It was a tough introduction to the European game for Vuniyayawa and Agar felt the greasy conditions took him by surprise, but said: “I thought he showed some bits of why we’ve given him the opportunity.

“There was a line-break, where he possibly should have scored and as you saw from some of his carries, when he gets the ball early and he ramps up, he has certainly got some bump and he’s a big guy who’s hard to handle.

King Vuniyayawa made his first appearance for Leeds against Huddersfield. Picture by Tony Johnson.

“He can whack people when they get in his zone, but we will be looking for some improvements from him.

“His defensive movement at times, we needed to see some changes of speed in there, particularly when we were on our tryline, but we aren’t expecting too much, too soon from King.

“We always felt he’d need a settling in period and he will learn some good lessons from Sunday.

“We’ll do a review with him and look for some improvements next time out.”

Explaining fellow new signing Zane Tetevano’s absence, after he was named in the initial squad, Agar said: “We had a slightly more intense week at training and it was a fairly heavy pitch.

“We have been hammering the 4g surface and we wanted to get our guys off that, with it being game week.

“It [his hamstring] tightened up, nothing too much of a drama. He was keen to play, but we thought safety-first. We didn’t want him to play and aggravate it and pull up sore and miss the bulk of this week.

“Our preparation over the next two weeks is going to be vital going into round one and we felt it was important we didn’t take any risks with soft tissue injuries.”

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