Leeds Rhinos name strong squad to face New Zealand in World Cup warm-up
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Five players, winger/centre Tom Briscoe, centre Liam Sutcliffe, hooker Brad Dwyer, back-rower Bodene Thompson and prop Muizz Mustapha, are set to make their final appearance for Leeds.
Dwyer and Sutcliife have both signed for Hull from 2023 and Mustapha is joining Castleford Tigers, but Briscoe, who is wanted by newly-promoted Leigh Centurions and Thompson are yet to confirm their next club.
Mustapha was 18th man at Old Trafford and Dwyer was not selected for any of Rhinos’ play-off matches.
Half-back Aidan Sezer, who was ruled out of the Grand Final because of a head knock, is included in Rhinos’ 19.
Prop Adam Cuthbertson, a treble-winner and Man of Steel nominee with Leeds in 2015 and a Grand Final champion two years later, will make a farewell appearance for as a guest player.
His previous game for Leeds was the 2020 Challenge Cup final win over Salford Red Devils, when he suffered a season-ending shoulder injury.
He spent 2021 with York City Knights and was player/assistant-coach with Featherstone Rovers this season, but will hang up his boots after Saturday’s game.
Ireland’s Richie Myler and James Bentley, Rhyse Martin, of Papua New Guinea and Zane Tetevano (Cook Islands) have been named in Rhinos’ 19 despite being included in World Cup squads.
Former New Zealand Test winger David Fusitu’a remains on the injury list and Leeds will be without forward Morgan Gannon who missed the title decider and semi-final win at Wigan Warriors through concussion.
The Kiwis, who are based in Leeds this week before moving into a World Cup camp at York after Saturday’s game, will be without their six NRL Grand Finalists, but Wigan’s Thomas Leuluai and Willie Isa will make a guest appearance, along with Dean Whare of Catalans Dragons.
Rhinos’ squad is: Austin, Bentley, Briscoe, Cuthbertson, Donaldson, Dwyer, Handley, Hardaker, Leeming, Martin, Mustapha, Myler, O’Connor, Prior, Sezer, Sutcliffe, Tetevano, Thompson, Walters.