After a long-anticipated wait, we’re finally here. The first game of the season. I must admit, this is the first time since 2015 I’m feeling pretty confident we’re in for a good year.
For once we haven’t been majorly plagued by injuries, which should, hopefully, mean we have a good start to the season and get a number of wins under our belt.
Looking around us at other teams, the only threats we may have would be St Helens and Catalans, who have made some great signings to bolster their roster. The signings of Aidan Sezer and Blake Austin should finally end the despair we’ve had with half-backs and scrum-halves, while also bringing through a number of young players hungry to get into the first 17, namely Jack Sinfield, Jarrod O’Connor, Jack Broadbent, the list goes on.
We face Warrington this Saturday at Headingley. South Stand will be bouncing with enthusiasm in what will be a great day and advertisement for our beloved sport on Channel 4. As long as we don’t have a rusty first 10 minutes and allow Warrington to gain some confidence, I think we’ll storm the game.
After what you could say has been a fairly successful pre-season, I am optimistic about the start of the season this weekend.
Towards the end of the last campaign, we eventually pushed ourselves into the playoff positions and I am hopeful we can build on that this year, taking the momentum gained then and from pre-season into the first league game on Saturday.
Adding the new players to the squad and Kruise Leeming taking over the captaincy mean I’m very hopeful for a successful season under Richard Agar.
With all the late drama that happened in August against the Wolves, ‘that’ controversial try and ‘that’ late drop goal, I’m hoping we can show up looking for revenge.
The game on Saturday will not be easy, not by a long stretch, but there is no better time to avenge that defeat than the first game of the new campaign. I believe we can definitely push ourselves this season to win some silverware and, hopefully, that Super League gets under way with a win for the Rhinos.
From the Green Green Grass of Headingley to the Isle of Sicily, the songs change but a build-up to the new season always generates plenty of excitement.
The first glimpse of the new kits, fixture list and anticipation of seeing the new signings. I do feel like the club’s new generation of talent has so much potential and credit to the club for giving them long-term deals.
Already, Blake Austin and Aidan Sezer have rekindled their chemistry in pre-season matches against Wakefield and Hull from playing together at Canberra.
Our gun international winger David Fusitu’a looks like the real deal and we have already seen James Bentley’s impact at St Helens.
Warrington always seem to recruit well and will be a good test of where we are as a team; it may be their year!
It will be interesting to see how our new half-back combination matches up against George Williams and Gareth Widdop, particularly Austin facing his old club (providing he avoids a ban from his disciplinary hearing).
And it’s so exciting to be making history as the first rugby league game to be broadcast live on Channel 4. All Leeds are we.
Leeds in 2022 gives us several reasons to be excited; first on the list is the new half-back pairing of former Canberra Raiders Aiden Sezer and Blake Austin.
The Rhinos’ pack can match any in the league; their ability to get the team on the front foot will be key for the likes of Austin, Sezer, and the dangerous dummy-half runs from the 2021 Dream Team hooker Kruise Leeming.
They now have real depth in the forwards with the addition of Josh Bentley and Muizz Mustapha who returns from a successful loan spell at Hull KR.
Jack Walker returning from nearly two years out injured will feel like a new signing. Another reason that not just Leeds fans can get excited about is live rugby league returning to free-to-air TV.
The coverage of the first game on Channel 4 will begin at 12.30pm on Saturday when the Rhinos host Warrington at Headingley.
It looks set to be a great encounter with both teams having ambitions to make the Grand Final at Old Trafford in September.
Super League is back. New season, new captain, new recruits, new backroom staff.
It all feels very exciting at the Rhinos and, with the recent insight on social media of what has been going on in the background, you can tell there is a genuine buzz in the camp. Our performance against Hull for Tom Briscoe’s testimonial definitely got us fans excited about what’s to come.
David Fusitu’a looks a quality signing and I can see him being up there for top try scorer. Richard Agar really has some tough decisions to make regarding his squad for Warrington.
There’s never an easy time to play Warrington; especially with it being round one, anything could happen.
They are also coming into the new season with a new coach, new recruits and probably something to prove.
We saw at Castleford what Daryl Powell did to get the best out of his players and I don’t doubt he will do the same at Warrington.
A full pre-season for George Williams as well could prove pivotal.
Keep him quiet and I think the Rhinos will start the season with a win.
Buckle up folks for yet another emotional rollercoaster over the next eight months, as the phoney war of pre-season recedes and the resumption of domestic hostilities is almost upon us with our first Super League game of the new 2022 season between Leeds Rhinos and Warrington Wolves on Saturday lunchtime.
Not the easiest of opening games, but it will be an excellent yardstick to see how far we’ve progressed.
A special welcome too to any passing Channel 4 executives, who may be reading this in their secret bunker just off City Square. For what you’re about to receive, may you be truly thankful and then go stick a half-decent offer in, so we get rugby league back where it belongs on a free-to-air terrestrial telly.
As for Leeds, I’m most looking forward to seeing the reunification of the ex-Canberra half-back pairing of Blake Austin and Aidan ‘Hail’ Sezer. Critics point to their relative age … I cite how the signing of Keith Hepworth and Alan Hardisty, from Castleford, worked for Leeds in the early 70s, giving vital time for the next crop of players to develop.
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