Rohan Smith set to appoint new Leeds Rhinos captain as he addresses recruitment situation

Leeds Rhinos are poised to announce a full-time captain for 2024 following criticism of the decision to share the responsibility around last season.
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The Rhinos were accused of a lack of leadership as they stuttered to an eighth-place finish in Super League.

Leeds have been without a settled skipper since Kevin Sinfield's retirement in 2015, with Danny McGuire, Kallum Watkins, Trent Merrin, Stevie Ward, Luke Gale, Matt Prior and Kruise Leeming all having spells as captain in the intervening period.

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After effectively deploying Cameron Smith and Ash Handley as joint captains in 2023, Rhinos boss Rohan Smith is ready to appoint a new full-time skipper.

"There will be a captaincy announcement soon," Smith told The Yorkshire Post.

"I feel like the person is ready for it and the group are going to work well with that particular person.

"I think it will also allow all of the other leaders in the group to have a strong presence as well.

"He will be the facilitator of a leadership group."

Rohan Smith is set to appoint a full-time captain. (Photo: Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com)Rohan Smith is set to appoint a full-time captain. (Photo: Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com)
Rohan Smith is set to appoint a full-time captain. (Photo: Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com)
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Leeds head into 2024 with a new-look squad after following up the signings of NRL trio Lachie Miller, Matt Frawley and Paul Momirovski with the double capture of Brodie Croft and Andy Ackers from Salford Red Devils.

Smith, who has also added Mickael Goudemand and Kieran Hudson to his squad, has stressed that any further additions would be via a one out, one in policy.

"There would have to be movement to create movement," said Smith.

"There's nothing imminent coming in. If someone departed for whatever reason, that might create some movement."

Cameron Smith is among the frontrunners for the captaincy. (Photo: Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com)Cameron Smith is among the frontrunners for the captaincy. (Photo: Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com)
Cameron Smith is among the frontrunners for the captaincy. (Photo: Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com)
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The Rhinos are said to be interested in Wakefield Trinity winger Lee Kershaw, with the deal understood to be dependent on Leeds being able to offload Derrell Olpherts.

But Smith said: "He's not on the radar. I've made it clear to anyone that's asked that we're not looking for a winger at this point."

The sudden departure of experienced playmaker Richie Myler appeared to give Leeds room for manoeuvre as they finalise their 2024 squad.

Smith, however, is conscious of keeping the path clear for the next generation at Headingley.

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"We're always looking to strengthen the squad but we've got a number of young players emerging," he said.

"In the coming years, we're going to have a lot of depth and a lot of big decisions to make on which of the good kids coming through are the ones to stay with us.

"Bringing in too many experienced players gets in the way of those emerging players.

"We feel we've got a good balance of an experienced, mature starting group and some young, emerging players to support them."