Leeds Rhinos unveil six-match pre-season schedule

Leeds Rhinos chief executive, Gary Hetherington. PIC: James Hardisty
Leeds Rhinos chief executive, Gary Hetherington. PIC: James Hardisty
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LEEDS RHINOS will play six warm-up games ahead of the 2019 season, the club has confirmed.

The pre-season schedule includes four West Yorkshire derbies with Rhinos set to take on Wakefield Trinity and Castleford Tigers at Emerald Headingley and travel to Featherstone Rovers and Hunslet. They will also visit Coventry Bears and Doncaster.

Leeds Rhinos head coach, Dave Furner. PIC: Steve Riding

Leeds Rhinos head coach, Dave Furner. PIC: Steve Riding

As previously announced, Rhinos will play Wakefield in the Wetherby Whaler Festive Challenge on Boxing Day (11.30am). That will be Dave Furner’s debut as coach.

Rhinos will visit Doncaster at Keepmoat Stadium on Sunday, January 13 (3pm) and travel to another Betfred League One side, Coventry, five days later on Friday, January 18 (7.30pm). The full first-team squad will be in action on Sunday, January 20, when Castleford visit Headingley for Rhinos captain Kallum Watkins’ testimonial game (3pm).

Leeds will be away to Championship partner club Featherstone a week later, on Sunday, January 27 (3pm) and complete their warm-up matches at Hunslet in the annual Harry Jepson OBE Memorial Cup tie on Sunday, February 3 (3pm). That comes the day after they open their Betfred Super League campaign away to Warrington Wolves.

Rhinos chief Executive Gary Hetherington said: “We are pleased to welcome our local rivals from Wakefield and Castleford for two fantastic games to the new-look Emerald Headingley Stadium. With the South Stand now fully open it will make for two special occasions. The Wetherby Whaler Festive Challenge on Boxing Day is a match all fans look forward to and Rhinos fans will get to see Konrad Hurrell, Tui Lolohea and Callum McLelland in action in blue and amber. Likewise our game against Castleford will be a highlight of Kallum Watkins thoroughly deserved testimonial year.”

Kallum Watkins' testimonial will be a pre-season game against Castleford at Emerald Headingley. PIC: Jonathan Gawthorpe

Kallum Watkins' testimonial will be a pre-season game against Castleford at Emerald Headingley. PIC: Jonathan Gawthorpe

He added: “Dave Furner will be keen to see all the players in his squad in action and the other games in pre-season will be vital in allowing the whole squad to show what they can do to try and impress our new head coach. Each game will build on the great relationships we have with those clubs which has produced some entertaining encounters in recent years.”

Rhinos’ first group of players begin pre-season training tomorrow (Monday).