TWELVE OF the side who won last year’s Betfred Super League Grand Final are included in Leeds Rhinos’ initial 19-man squad for today’s middle-eights opener against Toulouse Olympique.
Missing from the team on duty in the Old Trafford win over Castleford Tigers are injured players Kallum Watkins, Mitch Garbutt and Matt Parcell, plus Danny McGuire who has left the club and Rob Burrow, now on Rhinos’ coaching staff.
Forwards Stevie Ward and Anthony Mullally are poised to return today from lay-offs due to concussion and Ashton Golding, Jimmy Keinhorst and Dom Crosby are in contention for a recall.
Golding is on stand-by as cover for full-back Jack Walker who has been named in Rhinos’ initial 19-man squad, but is in doubt due to a hamstring injury suffered in last Sunday’s Ladbrokes Challenge Cup semi-final defeat by Warrington Wolves.
Golding can also stand-in at hooker, while Keinhorst is likely to take over at centre from Ash Handley who has a shoulder injury.
Hooker Parcell sustained damage to a rib last weekend and is ruled out.
On-loan prop Crosby will return after being ineligible to play against his parent club six days ago.
Centre Watkins, prop Garbutt (both knee) and forward Brett Delaney (facial injury) remain on the casualty list and back-rower Jordan Thompson begins a two-game ban. Former United States and Wigan Warriors and forward Eddy Pettybourne could return for Toulouse alongside Stanislas Robin, Paul Seguier and Charles Bouzinac.
Seb Planas and Mourad Kriouache drop out from the team which beat Dewsbury Rams in their final Championship fixture.
Leeds Rhinos: from Golding, T Briscoe, L Sutcliffe, Hall, Moon, Myler, Cuthbertson, Singleton, Jones-Buchanan, Ablett, Ward, Dwyer, Mullally, Keinhorst, Ferres, Peteru, Walker, Oledzki, Crosby.
Toulouse Olympique: from Bretherton, Centrone, Seguier, Kheiralla, Maurel, Ader, Ford, Robin, Boyer, Marion, Canet, Puech, Hepi, Pettybourne, Rapira, Bouzinac, Marcon, Mika, Barthau.
Referee: Gareth Hewer (Whitehaven).
Kick-off: Today, 3.15pm.