Backs to the future as Leeds add to squad

LEEDS RHINOS coach Rohan Smith says he has brought in a proven finisher, a player with more than enough potential to follow suit and an “aggressive forward with great footwork” after landing outside backs Derrell Olpherts and Luis Roberts and Gold Coast Titans star Sam Lisone on two-year contracts.
Lisone, 28, has played four times for Samoa alongside 133 NRL appearances, the first 85 for New Zealand Warriors, where Smith coached him in the Under 20s.
“Sam is very skilful,” added Smith. “He has always been a tremendous team player and brings a great deal of experience.”
Ex-Dewsbury, Hemel, Newcastle and Salford man Olpherts, 30, is on the move after scoring 36 tries in 54 appearances during three seasons with Castleford.
Meanwhile Roberts has signed for this year’s Grand Finalists after a year with Leigh which included a loan stint at Widnes. The former Salford and Swinton player is part of the Wales World Cup squad.
The 20-year-old, who played for hometown community club Leigh Miners Rangers and Folly Hall, made two appearances for Salford.
He signed for Swinton ahead of the 2021 season, and although his club suffered relegation, he was named as Championship Young Player of the Year.
“Luis was one of the first players I started tracking in the Championship when I arrived at Leeds,” explained Smith.
“He is a quality athlete, and still growing. He has a great attitude towards improvement and is ready to take the next step in his career. We are looking forward to him improving as a centre and a winger.”
Olpherts’ versatility appeals to Smith, who explained: “He is talented and can play anywhere in the backline.
“He showed last season in particular (with 18) that he is an outstanding try-scorer as well.”
Wakefield-born Olpherts wants to “elevate” his game at Headingley.
“I am sure Rohan Smith will help me develop my game and develop me as a person as well,” he said.
“The backs are all exciting players and the squad did fantastically well last year. To get to a Grand Final just shows how much effort and skill there is around the place.
“Hopefully I can add to the group and help us go one step further.”
Leeds have confirmed former Wakefield, Huddersfield and Ireland back Scott Grix and Chev Walker as Smith’s new assistants.
Grix has been working part-time for the Rhinos as well as for Halifax, where his brother Simon is coach, while Walker has been with the Rhinos Academy.