THERE was a time during the 2023 Super League season that Leeds Rhinos were desperate for numbers.
So when Nene Macdonald didn’t return from paternity leave late last season, the Rhinos were cut further adrift out wide.
Eventually, Macdonald and Leeds came to an agreement which saw the PNG international leave Headingley just months after signing a new contract until the end of 2027.
For Macdonald’s fellow countryman and former teammate, Rhyse Martin, it was a decision that was “the best thing” for Macdonald.
“It’s a tough one, he did the best thing for him at the time and in this sport you have to do that. But, at the time he did it, it did leave us a bit short,” Martin told League Express.
“In the end, it is what it is. He’s over at Salford now and hopefully he has a good year for them. He did the right thing for his family in the end.
“I’m happy for him.”
With the likes of Macdonald and others such as Luke Hooley, Aidan Sezer, Richie Myler and Zane Tetevano all departing Headingley, there has been a big turnover in players for Leeds for 2024.
Incoming signings are also aplenty with halfback duo Matt Frawley and Brodie Croft joining from Canberra Raiders and Salford Red Devils respectively.
And Martin has hailed the pair as important recruits for the Rhinos.
“I played with Matt Frawley at the Canterbury Bulldogs a couple of years ago and crossed paths with Crofty (Brodie Croft) a few times. I played with him in the NRL All Stars game a few years ago.
“Those two boys control the team and direct us around the park. Just with my previous experience of those two doing that, they have been unreal in that sense.
“The way they play the game, Frawls (Frawley) is very controlled and directs the team around and Crofty does that too, but he has a bit of flair about him as well. Those two boys will do well for us.”
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