Luke Hooley situation explained as Leeds Rhinos suffer Richie Myler injury blow

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Full-back Richie Myler has been ruled out of Sunday’s home clash with Leigh Leopards, but Leeds Rhinos coach Rohan Smith has not given up hope of him playing again this year.

Myler, who has missed only one game in 2023, suffered a “stress-related fracture” of a foot during last week’s defeat at St Helens and Smith confirmed: “He is going to be out for an extended period. It could be season-ending, it could be a six-10 week time frame.”

The coach said: “He had a sore foot in the first half [last week], it wasn’t anything major to him, then in the second half it was a bit sorer.

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“He was in a boot over the weekend to protect it and give it chance to calm down, but it didn’t so he went for the first available scan and that revealed the bad news.”

Richie Myler. Picture by Ed Sykes/ Myler. Picture by Ed Sykes/
Richie Myler. Picture by Ed Sykes/
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There are only seven rounds remaining in the regular Betfred Super League season, but Smith insisted: “There are some interventions that can support and facilitate recovery and rejuvenation, so we will be doing everything we can.

“Richie is already seeking advice and we’ve got him booked in for a few things that may be able to accelerate that process.

“Even if it’s only a few days quicker or a week quicker, that would be a great result. We won’t be reckless, but Richie is already doing everything he can to facilitate that repair.”

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Luke Hooley made his only senior appearance for Leeds so far away to Hull KR in March. Picture by Bruce Rollinson.Luke Hooley made his only senior appearance for Leeds so far away to Hull KR in March. Picture by Bruce Rollinson.
Luke Hooley made his only senior appearance for Leeds so far away to Hull KR in March. Picture by Bruce Rollinson.

Luke Hooley, who joined Rhinos from Batley Bulldogs in pre-season, stepped in when Myler was unavailable for the game at Hull KR in March.,

That is his only Super League appearance so far, but he has been playing on dual-registration with Batley Bulldogs and Smith stated: “We have got a couple of options at full-back and Luke is certainly in the picture.

“He has been playing some good, tough rugby with Batley. He has had some really good performances and they have had some physical games against Featherstone and away at Toulouse.

“Luke is in a good position, with a good amount of work under his belt now, so we will consider him as one of our options.”

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Rhinos coach Rohan Smith. Picture by Allan McKenzie/ coach Rohan Smith. Picture by Allan McKenzie/
Rhinos coach Rohan Smith. Picture by Allan McKenzie/

Hooley helped Bulldogs reach next Saturday’s 1895 Cup final against Halifax Panthers and losing him would be a major blow to their hopes of victory at Wembley.

Rhinos have no game next weekend and Smith said Hooley’s availability for the final is “something we will deal with as the weekend unfolds and early next week”.

He added: “It has been a terrific arrangement for Luke to be connected with his old club at Batley and we are very respectful and appreciative of the opportunity they’ve given him to go and have some games.

“I will check in with Craig [Lingard, Batley’s coach] in the early part of next week and we can discuss that.”

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Smith stressed Rhinos are Hooley’s priority and the player would not be left out of Sunday’s game just to protect him for the final.

“Luke is a Rhinos contracted-player,” he stated. “Batley have been super-understanding of the situation, that some weeks he hasn’t gone to Batley to play because he has been on stand-by for us.

“We will do what’s right for the Rhinos this weekend and keep Batley informed as we make decisions there.”

Ash Handley is another option at number one, though Rhinos are already without one winger for Sunday with Nene Macdonald ruled out due to concussion. Teenager Alfie Edgell is the other specialist full-back in Rhinos’ squad.