LEEDS RHINOS are close to announcing a major signing.
The Yorkshire Evening Post understands Rhinos are in advanced talks with what will be a significant overseas recruit.
The deal is believed to be near to completion and will be Rhinos’ third signing ahead of 2019 after half-backs Tuimoala Lolohea and Callum McLelland.
Rhinos chief executive Gary Hetherington last week admitted there is “plenty going on behind the scenes”, but declined to give any indication of when more recruits will be announced.
But with pre-season training due to begin next month, the clock is ticking and Rhinos are keen to have their new-look squad largely firmed up before Dave Furner arrives in November to take over as head coach. The pending signing is not believed to be among the host of players who have been linked with Rhinos in recent weeks.
Rhinos have options to bring players in from abroad.
Nathaniel Peteru, Lolohea, Mitch Garbutt, Matt Parcell and Adam Cuthbertson are Rhinos’ current quota players, leaving them two places to fill on their overseas roster.
A number of changes to the squad have already been confirmed.
Winger Ryan Hall, centre Jimmy Keinhorst and centre/stand-off Joel Moon all left Rhinos at the end of the season, last month and Jordan Lilley will spend 2019 on loan at Bradford Bulls.
Second-rower Brett Delaney will no longer be part of the squad next year, but is remaining at the club to work for Rhinos’ foundation.
McLelland joined Rhinos from Scotland Rugby Union after this year’s transfer deadline, but the former Castleford player trained with his new club towards the end of the season.
Lolohea is in the initial Tonga squad to play Australia at Mount Smart Stadium, in Auckland, on Saturday.
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