Pre-season begins for Leeds Rhinos

Jamie Jones-Buchanan.
Jamie Jones-Buchanan.
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The new era at Leeds Rhinos has officially begun.

Pre-season got underway today when the first batch of players reported in to begin preparations under new coach Dave Furner and conditioner Chris Black who has returned to Rhinos after a spell with the Rugby Football League and England team.

Luke Briscoe.

Luke Briscoe.

The initial group was a mixture of senior squad members and young players.

Others will report back over the next few weeks with the entire squad due to be training next month.

Players in at the first session included veteran forward Jamie Jones-Buchanan who has resigned for a final season with his only club.

Injured captain Kallum Watkins reported back to continue his rehabilitation following a knee reconstruction.

Others in the initial group were Stevie Ward, Brad Dwyer, Anthony Mullally, Nathaniel Peteru, Josh Walters, Jack Ormondroyd, Cameron Smith, Luke Briscoe - who is set to remain at the club he rejoined last season - and new signing Callum McLelland.

They were joined by youngsters Harry Newman, Alex Sutcliffe, Tyler Dupree, Corey Johnson, Owen Trout, Tom Holroyd, and Daniel Waite-Pullan.

Meanwhile, Rhinos prop Mitch Garbutt, who was under contract for next season, is believed to be close to completing a move to Betfred Super League rivals Hull KR.

Rhinos are understood to still be hopeful of signing former Australia prop Trent Merrin despite reports he is set to remain with Penrith Panthers.

Leeds are also being linked with Huddersfield Giants’ former Dream Team front-rower Sebastine Ikahihifo.

The 27-year-old New Zealand-born packman is under contract at Giants until the end of 2021, but could be available for a transfer fee or player swap.