Leeds Rhinos’ Papua New Guinea forward Rhyse Martin is looking forward to his first taste of a festive English Rugby League experience.
The Rhinos’ annual Boxing Day clash with neighbours Wakefield Trinity is back on the agenda after being put on ice because of Covid.
The first Wetherby Whaler-sponsored showdown since 2019, when Trinity won 30-4, is at Headingley at 11.30am on Sunday, December 26.
And goal-kicking second rower Martin is ready to get stuck in as Leeds continue the countdown to their Super League opener at home to Warrington on Saturday, February 12, which will be the first match show live by Channel 4 under their new two-year broadcast agreement.
“It’s great to have a game to aim towards,” said Kumuls captain Martin, who joined Leeds from Canterbury Bulldogs in June 2019 and has made 50 appearances, scoring nine tries and landing 184 goals for a total points tally of 404.
“I know the two clubs have a tradition of playing each other on Boxing Day, but with last year’s game being cancelled, I haven’t been involved in one yet, so I’m looking forward to it.”
Leeds fans will be hoping to see new signings Bake Austin, James Bentley, David Fusitu’a and Aidan Sezer in action.
And coach Richard Agar could also field some of the club’s rising homegrown players, such as centre Max Simpson, who has joined the first-team squad.
Martin, 28, continued: “It’s good to train with the young guys and get to know them a bit. There are some talented lads and hopefully they will have a good crack at it next year.
“Training has been hard, with a few sore bodies, but we’ve got a good spirit and a good number of blokes out on the field at this stage. Hopefully that continues.”
Leeds have handed a three-year contract extension to versatile back Richie Myler and a four-year extension to their 20-year-old prop Tom Holroyd.
They will send Jarrod O’Connor, Muizz Mustapha and Corey Johnson on loan to Bradford for the start of the Championship campaign and they will visit the Bulls for a pre-season match on Sunday, January 23 (3pm).
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