Leeds Rhinos winger Derrell Olpherts addresses off-season transfer speculation and talks Headingley future

Aaron Bower
Derrell Olpherts Leeds Rhinos Alamy

Derrell Olpherts in action for Leeds Rhinos in 2023 (Alamy)

He has been linked with a move away from Leeds Rhinos all winter – and now, Derrell Olpherts has had his say on the matter: insisting he is ‘all-in’ at Headingley and that he never had any intention of quitting the club.

The winger made just 14 appearances for Leeds in his debut season at the club in 2023, and no sooner had the campaign finished than speculation begun to emerge over a potential off-season exit.

Numerous Super League clubs were linked with a move for Olpherts, with Leeds understood to be open to allowing the winger to leave if he could secure a deal elsewhere.

But Olpherts has emphatically shut down any suggestion he could leave Leeds this season as the new Super League campaign approaches.

When asked if there was a chance of him leaving Headingley in the winter, he told Love Rugby League: “No. No way.

“I’m all-in here, I’m 100% in here and Leeds have still got an option on whether they want to keep me here next year, which obviously I’d love to happen.

“There wasn’t any truth in me looking to leave. I’ll keep my head down, keep grinding and keep fighting for a spot.”

Leeds Rhinos winger Derrell Olpherts addresses off-season transfer speculation and talks Headingley future

Olpherts failed to cement a regular place in the Leeds team throughout 2023, with David Fusitu’a and Ash Handley preferred by Rhinos head coach Rohan Smith as his first-choice wing partnership.

But Olpherts insists he will be a better player for a stop-start first season at Headingley – and has refused to give up on his Leeds career flourishing in the longer term, even if that is out of his hands, with the Rhinos retaining an option in the club’s favour on a new deal beyond this season.

“It was a steep learning curve, appreciating being at a huge club like this,” he admitted.

“I had to take it all in, this is the best and biggest club I have ever been at. It’s been a step up, I knew that coming here with the wingers they already had.

“I knew it would be a challenge, but I took it on last year, and I’ll do it again this year. Once I’m called upon, I’m here to do a job, but I’m better for last year. It was a transitional period, something I had to learn from, but I’m keen to take it head on.

“I just want to keep doing what I’m doing and what’s got me this far, working hard and giving it my all.

“I wouldn’t have got to this point, starting at Hemel Stags and getting to potentially the biggest club in the country in Leeds, without hard work.

“Whenever I’m called upon, I’ll be ready, and whatever happens after this year happens.”

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