YEP Jury: Leeds Rhinos’ new recruits could play key role this season

Our fans’ panel are back for the new Super League season and looking forward to Leeds Rhinos’ opening game against Wakefield Trinity on Saturday.

Wednesday, 24th March 2021, 4:30 pm
Updated Thursday, 25th March 2021, 8:34 pm

KATIE BURROWS

Super League is back – finally! And while it’s going to be a while before the fans can return to HQ, I absolutely can’t wait for our clash with Wakefield Trinity this Saturday.

We’ve made some promising signings to replace the players that left at the end of 2020, something we haven’t been so good at in the past.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

KEY MAN: New Leeds Rhinos signing Kyle Eastmond could have a big effect on the season. Picture: Phil Daly/Leeds Rhinos/SWPix.com.
KEY MAN: New Leeds Rhinos signing Kyle Eastmond could have a big effect on the season. Picture: Phil Daly/Leeds Rhinos/SWPix.com.

I’m excited to see Kyle Eastmond in a Rhinos shirt; I think his signing has the potential to be very good for us – and I’ll be hoping to see him on the team sheet this weekend, fitness permitting.

The pre-season friendly against Huddersfield was a good test for us, and a great opportunity to see our new signings in action.

Despite the result, I thought we had a strong second half and King Vuniyayawa had some good moments.

Jack Broadbent also continues to impress, and it’ll be interesting to see whether he earns a place in round one, given the news about Ash Handley’s injury.

IMPACT PLAYER: New signing Zane Tetevano taking part in pre-season training. Picture: Phil Daly/Leeds Rhinos/SWPix.com.

I think it’ll be close on Saturday, but I’m tipping Leeds to edge it. Let’s start 2021 as we mean to go on.

CHRISTINE KIDD

It has been a long time coming but Super League is back this weekend. Leeds against Wakefield Trinity on Saturday is Rhinos first game of the 2021 season, almost two months later than usual.

Three new faces have arrived at Emerald Headingley ready to start the new season and all eyes will be on them to see how they perform.

POINT TO PROVE: Leeds Rhinos new boy King Vuniyayawa. Picture: Tony Johnson.

A number of young players in the squad who had a taste of first-team rugby last year will be hoping to get more game time this time. Jack Walker will miss the season, but Richie Myler will be a very able replacement at full-back.

It will be interesting to see Richard Agar’s half-back combination to start the season, with Rob Lui unavailable.

Will Kyle Eastmond be given the nod? The signings of King Vuniyayawa and Zane Tetevano should strengthen the Rhinos forward pack and give more competition for places.

Having won the Challenge Cup last year it would be nice to finish the season at Old Trafford in October.

RISING STAR: Young gun Jack Broadbent impressed against Huddersfield in pre-season. Picture: Tony Johnson.

A win on Saturday against Wakefield would be a good start.

GAVIN MILLER

2021 is shaping up to be a big season for Leeds.

There have been some personnel changes, having lost a few through moves and retirement, so there will be big pressure on new recruits Zane Tetevano and King Vuniyayawa to hit the ground running.

The signing of Kyle Eastmond, back in rugby league after time spent in t’other code, is an interesting one that has the fans talking and given the uncertainty around the fitness of our half-backs, Luke Gale, Robert Lui and Callum McLelland, he too may have to hit form early doors.

Losing Ash Handley in pre-season is a blow also and it’s looking like Leeds’ best laid plans may already have been torn up and they are having to start over again.

So can the all-important fast start to the season be reached with the squad perhaps already looking light or could a sluggish start with new plans in place see Leeds behind the curve early in the season?

Having won the Challenge Cup in a nothing season last year, they will be keen to build on that and progress in the league.

ADAM ANDERSON

Here we are again, a late start to the season, but a very exciting one ahead. Hopefully we will be in the ground soon supporting the lads.

I am looking forward to seeing how the new signings gel into the squad and what they bring to the squad from last year. Zane Tetevano is a well known name and will bring that added extra in the front row.

Losing Ava Seumanufagai was a bitter blow but we have King Vuniyayawa who’s a bit of an unknown, which could be a good thing.

Kyle Eastmond and Luke Gale could be a formidable partnership.

The battle for the centre spots is immense and I’d go with Liam Sutcliffe and Konrad Hurrell for the first game.

Hopefully we don’t get many more injuries early on as we are already short in positions.

I feel that we will have a good season if we don’t get injuries again, but I’ll be very happy with a Challenge Cup run and a top-four spot.

IAN SHARP

We are back and Super League is too.

It’s hard to imagine it has been more than a year since we were last at HQ watching the team play live, and then we missed out on an amazing Challenge Cup final, with the skipper winning it in the dying seconds. We have a few new faces in this year’s squad and have lost the odd one or two.

Ava Seumanufagai’s decision not to return, and understandably so, will leave big boots to fill, I thought he and Matt Prior had started to get a good understanding going.

King Vuniyayawa looks a big unit and with Mikolaj Oledzki and Zane Tetevano in the squad, the pack is looking promising.

Less so is Jack Walker being out for the season. Do we put Richie Myler back there, or put Liam Sutcliffe at full-back and use Myler in the halves?

It’s a good problem for Richard Agar to have. For me this season is about us fans getting back into the stadium and watching live rugby league.

Yes we want to be winning and challenging, but I just want to be in the South Stand with a pie and a pint!

MATT FOWLER

Here we go again. The 2021 season is upon us and to be honest I am still a little deflated and not ready for its restart.

Covid-19 still dominates the landscape and for those rugby fans who are regular season ticket holders it is bittersweet.

I am excited to see the Rhinos back in action, but “live” rugby is what we all want, to see stadiums full with noisy spectators on the terraces.

The close season has been pretty good for Leeds.

The acquisition of Zane Tetevano, Vuniyayawa (let’s call him King) and the wild card gamble on Kyle Eastmond is good business.

We needed some more firepower and I think Tetevano will be a real bonus for us.

Last season we saw a glimpse of the young prospects and in that sense, we are very well set.

I think we will see at least two or three break through.

I think Sam Walters and Tom Holroyd have a real chance of a sustained run in the 17. Once again, the play-offs are a minimum requirement and of course an obligatory Cup run.

We need to hit the ground running and be in good shape for when the supporters return. With a crowd behind them anything is possible.

Support the YEP and become a subscriber today. Enjoy unlimited access to local news and the latest on Leeds United, With a digital subscription, you see fewer ads, enjoy faster load times, and get access to exclusive newsletters and content. Click HERE to subscribe.