Rhinos to consider marquee replacement

Leeds Rhinos’ recruitment plans hinge on Rhyse Martin’s passport.

Head coach Richard Agar has confirmed the club is in the market for two players, a forward and a utility back.

Their search for players is in both hemispheres with the Rhinos keen to use their full quota and they are open to using the marquee player spot opened up by the departure of Trent Merrin if the right player were to become available.

However, any overseas business will depend on Martin (pictured), who currently holds one of the club’s five overseas player spots.

He has applied for a PNG passport, which, if granted would see him not classed as an overseas player because of the Kolpak rule, opening up a quota spot for a new arrival.

“We’re hoping for a PNG passport,” Agar told League Express.

“The forms are in and it’s going through the system but I’d be guessing on days, weeks and months if I was to tell you how long it will take. It tends to take longer with it being Christmas.

“We’d like a middle and a utility back. We signed Matt Prior to play alongside Trent, not to replace him, so we’re now after someone else.

“We have some names high up on our list and who we’ve had talks with, but we can’t move until that full spot unravels. There are always moving parts and players becoming available. You expect that and you have your succession plans.”

On the potential to sign a new marquee player, Agar added: “It depends who it is and whether the person wants to come and if they’ll add value for us. There are loads of factors, so we won’t rule anything out or anything in. But as we saw with Trent leaving, things can open up quickly and unexpectedly. If a marquee player comes up and is a person we think will add to us, then we can go down that route.

“But we’re not panicking. If this is the squad we go in with that’s perfectly fine. We’re not going to rush in and get someone we’re not sure is the right fit for us. I’m perfectly comfortable with the squad we have at present and we’ve added in the areas we wanted to.”

© League Express (Mon 9th Dec 2019)