FORWARD CAMERON Smith could get an opportunity to show what he can do as a ball-player when Leeds Rhinos visit Doncaster on Sunday.
Coach David Furner has selected a strong squad, captained by Brad Singleton, for Rhinos’ second pre-season game, but is without England under-19s stand-off Callum McLelland.
The former Castleford Tigers academy player, who joined Rhinos last year from Scottish rugby union, has a calf injury and will not be risked.
Tui Lolohea and Richie Myler are being saved for next weekend’s Kallum Watkins testimonial game against Castleford Tigers, so Rhinos will travel with only one specialist half-back, academy scrum-half Harvey Spence.
Hooker Cory Johnson and full-back Ashton Golding can both play in the halves and Furner said Smith, who started at loose-forward in the Boxing Day win over Wakefield Trinity, is a “very handy footballer” and could step into the role.
Furner has included only three players from outside his first-team squad in Leeds’ 19 for the Kyle Kesik testimonial game at Keepmoat Stadium and is keen to see some of the young players who have been promoted into the full-time ranks put through their paces.
“We’ve got a good blend of experienced players with plenty of Super League games under their belt and also young lads who have impressed with what they’ve been doing in the academy,” Furner said.
“Also what they [the youngsters] have been doing quite well is they are competing at training.
“They have given themselves a really good opportunity there to stand out among the squad.”
Rhinos have expanded their pool of full-time players this year, allowing them to do 13-on-13 work in training.
“We’ve got a big enough squad to have opposed-type training,” Furner added. “It allows us to work on combinations and different areas of our game.
“I have been impressed with the attitude of all the squad.”
McLelland’s injury is not believed to be serious, but he has been unable to run in training this week.
“I’ve been very impressed, for a young half, with the composure he shows in opposed training scenarios,” Furner said of the teenage stand-off.