YEP Jury: If Leeds Rhinos could sign any player in the world, who should it be?

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Our fans’ panel debate which current rugby league players they would love to see join Leeds Rhinos


If Leeds Rhinos could sign any current rugby league player in the world who would I choose?

There are many talented players both in Super League and the NRL. Should it be a senior, experienced player who could help to bring on the younger players and enjoy a leadership role within the team or should it be a young promising player at the start of his career? Not an easy decision to make.

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One of the best, most experienced players is Melbourne Storm’s Cameron Smith. He has captained the Australian national side and the Queensland State of Origin team during his career.

He is the only NRL player to have played over 400 matches and has won every personal honour in the game.

Smith would be a great addition to any team, mentoring younger players and providing great leadership on and off the field. His reading of the game is second to none and his presence on the field would be a boost to the whole team.

There would be no need to sign any promising young players as we already have a significant number of them playing for Leeds Rhinos.

James Tedesco of Sydney Roosters. Picture: Mark Kolbe/Getty Images.James Tedesco of Sydney Roosters. Picture: Mark Kolbe/Getty Images.
James Tedesco of Sydney Roosters. Picture: Mark Kolbe/Getty Images.
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All things being normal, I should be writing this week’s contribution sitting by the pool! Instead it’s the garden I find myself in and an interesting topic: who, if we could, would we sign at Leeds from the crop of current RL players.

First up, and I can’t believe I am saying it, I’d have Sam Tomkins in my team, in a heartbeat.

Cameron Smith of Melbourne Storm. Picture: Ryan Pierse/Getty Images).Cameron Smith of Melbourne Storm. Picture: Ryan Pierse/Getty Images).
Cameron Smith of Melbourne Storm. Picture: Ryan Pierse/Getty Images).

The number of times he has pulled out plays in games to beat us is sickening.

He would have been a good addition to our team.

Next up I’d take Luke Thompson, what a front-rower he is – fast, skilful and tough as hobnail boots; he’d be great leading our pack.

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Cameron Smith I’d have at hooker. He has such a great RL brain, and his never-say-die attitude would have put him right up there as a Leeds icon.

Sam Tomkins. Picture: Alex Caparros/Getty Images.Sam Tomkins. Picture: Alex Caparros/Getty Images.
Sam Tomkins. Picture: Alex Caparros/Getty Images.

Thinking back a few years, it would have been great to keep the Burgess boys in the UK and have the twins playing at Leeds.

I often wonder if they would have been as good if they had not moved to the NRL, but I guess we will never know!


The current player I’d pick is a tough choice between three players that I personally like.

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The first one is James Tedesco who plays full-back for Sydney Roosters. He creates and scores his fair share of tries and he is a very safe pair of hands at the back.

He’s a thrilling player that excites you.

Maika Sivo of Parramatta Eels. Picture: Chris Hyde/Getty Images.Maika Sivo of Parramatta Eels. Picture: Chris Hyde/Getty Images.
Maika Sivo of Parramatta Eels. Picture: Chris Hyde/Getty Images.

Then the next player is half-back Nathan Cleary who plays for Penrith Panthers.

He’s a very talented individual who has lots of ball skills and he takes the line on and puts through some fantastic grubbers.

He’s very good in knocking over the vital conversions and he’s at a good age as well so he’s got a very bright future.

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My third player would be prop Reagan Campbell-Gillard who plays for Parramatta Eels in the NRL. He first starred at Penrith Panthers, where he gained his reputation, and recently signed a five-year contract at the Eels, so it would take a lot of money to get him to come to this country.

He again is at a good age and will only get better, he runs hard at the opposition’s defenders and he also plays lots of minutes.

He reminds me of Jamie Peacock, he’s a similar build and in the way he runs at defenders.

A really good metre maker for his team, he’s also now a well established international for his country Australia.

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So out of them three players can I have buy one and get two free? I’d have to plump for Nathan Cleary as he’s at the right age and he’s the driver around the field for his team.


If money was no object and I could sign any rugby league player who would I sign? Ignoring who we have now, I would look no further than 
Sydney Roosters full-back James 
‘Teddy’ Tedesco.

He reminds me of a taller Brent Webb, playing wise. He has pace, great hands, defends well, attacks better than most and has a marvellous understanding of the greatest game.

Once his team opens up the opposition’s defensive line he is more or less always in the vicinity, waiting for a pass to continue the attack.

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He is a proven champion and has taken over the Kangaroos full-back berth vacated by an all-time great in Billy Slater.

Though he is currently playing in a great side he always gives them that something special that coaches and fans like me love to see.

Another player that I would certainbly pay money to see in blue and amber is St Helens’ exciting stand-off Jonny Lomax.

Like our own Danny McGuire he has evolved into a playmaker who can still score vital tries for Saints.


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There’s always that one player that you’d love to see at your club and for the past couple of years, mine is in a position where we have slightly lacked an assured presence.

Cameron Smith, although he is quite an older player and in his prime would have over taken practically anyone in his position.

He’s a committed individual who gives the best for his team week in week out.

He’s also got possibly the best kicking game in the world. He’s another person who is a one club man.

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Another player that I would have loved to come to Leeds when he moved from the Championship was Alex Walmsley.

We had a very good relationship with Championship clubs at the time and sadly missed out on this.

Alex came from nothing and worked his way through the ranks to become one of the best forwards in the country.

Although he suffered with a freak injury, he’s come back fighting.

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On current topics, fingers crossed that we are very close to finding out when Super League will return.


If money was no object which current player would I buy for the Rhinos?

Having watched nothing but NRL games this last three weeks I feel like a scout for the team anyway.

There are some notable world class players that spring to mind like James Tedesco, Tom Trbojevic and the ageing Cameron Smith who have caught the eye while I have been watching.

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The three I would like the most are John Bateman, Luke Cleary and Maika Sivo.

Bateman is the type of player you love to hate if he is not in your team, but would soon win the fans over if he performs like he has since joining the NRL.

Luke Cleary would be an amazing buy and form a world class partnership with Luke Gale. Maika Sivo is just a beast of a winger. He would destroy most defences in Super League.

If money was no object, I would take all three but if I had to choose only one then I think I would go for Sivo.

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Hurrell and Sivo on the same South Stand side would certainly pull in the crowds, when we finally get to return to action of course.


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