Leeds Rhinos' Harry Newman reckons partnership with new winger David Fusitu'a can light up Super League

Leeds Rhinos' ace centre Harry Newman is relishing building a partnership  with new addition David Fusitu’a.

By Peter Smith
Wednesday, 5th January 2022, 4:45 am

The Tonga Test winger is a former NRL top try scorer and has been signed to boost firepower in the three-quarters.

Playing outside new halves Blake Austin and Aidan Sezer, Newman is excited about the duo’s prospects for 2022 and looking forward to seeing what Fusitu’a can do.

“You can see from training they have played together before and they are both world-class half-backs,” he said of Rhinos’ six and seven.

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Harry Newman has been in pre-season training since November. Picture by Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com.

“I am looking forward to having Fusitu’a play outside me, he is a big body and can obviously finish a try so having a winger you know can do that is exciting, especially one of his quality.”

Newman admits to not watching much rugby league, but added: “When I knew we’d signed him and Rich [Agar, Rhinos’ coach] told me he was going to play outside me, I had a look at a few videos and he is clearly a very, very good player.

“He has played for Tonga in the World Cup when they got to the semi-finals and the NRL on a regular basis so he knows how to finish a try and that’s what matters as a winger.

“He has not been here that long, but building a relationship and combinations is an exciting prospect.”

New signing David Fusitu'a will play outside Harry Newman for Rhinos this year. Picture by Phil Daly/Leeds Rhinos via SWpix.com.

Newman, 21, has been training since day one of pre-season last November and bagged a brace of tries in Rhinos’ opening warm-up game, against Wakefield Trinity on Boxing Day.

That is in contrast to 12 months ago, when he missed all of pre-season after suffering a badly broken leg the previous September.

He returned to the team last July and was ever-present over the final four months of the campaign, touching down four times including Rhinos’ try of the season at home to Warrington Wolves in August.

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“I missed last year so it has been nice to be involved, I have been doing everything everyone else is doing and I feel like it’s paying off.”

Newman reckons the way he played over the second half of 2021 set the platform for a good season this time.

He said: “It was always about coming back from the injury and just getting back playing again, building the confidence up and I felt towards the back end I wasn’t quite where I wanted to be, but not far off.

“Just getting extra training sessions in and a proper pre-season is only going to benefit me this year.”

Newman confirmed Rhinos’ new head of performance Richard Hunwicks has brought a different approach to pre-season.

“He has changed what we’ve done off-field massively,” Newman said. “In terms of the whole environment, it feels like we are working in a world-class envrionment again. I am really impressed with him.

“I had heard good things but, obviously, you never know when someone new comes in who you’ve not worked with before.

“I feel like I’ve developed a relationship now where I trust his work and what he is going to do for me.”

With a World Cup at the end of it, postponed from last autumn, this is set to be a big year for Newman at both club and international level.

England coach Shuan Wane has made it clear he is a big fan of the Leeds centre and Newman, who last month signed a contract keeping him at Rhinos until the end of 2024, stressed the World Cup is “something I have aspired to be involved in ever since it was announced”.

He said: “It getting cancelled last year probably gave me a bit of extra time and another season to get me to where I want to be to compete in it.

“I think, if I get to the form I know I can get to, I will give myself every chance.”

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