Leeds Rhinos make calls on out-of contract stars as recruitment steps up

Tom Briscoe looks set to leave Leeds Rhinos at the end of the season, but work is underway to tie Zak Hardaker down to a new deal.

Both backs are out of contract at the end of this season, but Briscoe’s ninth year at the club could be his last.

The former Hull FC player and England international, who has been sidelined since April by an ankle injury, famously scored five tries in the 2015 Challenge Cup Final.

Now 32, he has not been offered a new contract to stay at Headingley.

“He hasn’t been offered a new deal,” confirmed Rhinos head coach Rohan Smith, adding: It’s always a moving thing, there’s a lot of balls in the air behind the scenes across the league.”

Nevertheless, it appears Briscoe will be moving on for 2023. But they hope to keep Hardaker, who returned to Leeds in April from Wigan Warriors, beyond the end of the season.

“I’ve had preliminary chats with Zak’s agent and we’ll keep the ball rolling there,” said Smith.

“There is no strict timescale and it will sort itself out as it goes.”

Of their other out-of-contract players, Muizz Mustapha will join Castleford Tigers, where he would join Jack Broadbent, after Smith confirmed he will be leaving.

Brad Dwyer will also not be offered a new deal and is free to move on, leaving Bodene Thompson – currently Leeds’ final overseas quota player – as the only other squad member with an uncertain future.

Leeds have confirmed two new signings for next season in forwards Justin Sangaré and James McDonnell, from Toulouse Olympique and Wigan Warriors respectively, while Castleford winger Derrell Olpherts is also reported to have signed.

The club are also keen to sign former Wakefield Trinity fullback Luke Hooley from Championship high-flyers Batley Bulldogs.

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