James Bentley update as Leeds ace in squad to face former club Saints

Drew Darbyshire
James Bentley Leeds Rhinos Ireland News Images

Photo: Mark Cosgrove/News Images

Leeds coach Rohan Smith has provided an update on James Bentley, who has been named in the squad to face his former club St Helens on Friday night.

The 25-year-old has not played a game since picking up a PCL knee injury whilst on international duty for Ireland at the World Cup last autumn.

But Bentley has been named in Smith’s 21-man squad for the first time in 2023. He could feature against his former club St Helens this week.

“He’s close,” Smith revealed in his pre-match presser. “He’s training really well. We will see how he gets through today’s session and we will make the final call on him tomorrow.

“James is a great competitor and is everything we want to be as a team, so if he’s available that’ll be good. But if not then he’ll be good for next week. We want to James to be himself and be the competitor he is.”

Bentley’s international and club team-mate James McDonnell could make his Rhinos debut against Saints after his off-season move from Wigan.

“He’s been close for a little while,” Smith revealed. “He had some bumps and illness that set him back in pre-season but he’s in shape and he’s ready to go now.

“He’s a good comepetitior, tough, physical and out of the Wigan academy system that has brought through so many tough, fierce competitors.

“He has got good leg speed and can break tackles as well. He has got footwork, has a good motor and competes hard.”

SQUAD WATCH: James Bentley named in Leeds squad to face St Helens

Rhinos without Morgan Gannon for Saints trip

A player who won’t be making the trip to St Helens on Friday night is Morgan Gannon, who failed his head injury assessment in last week’s defeat to Hull.

Smith confirmed positive news that Gannon felt okay after the game. But concussion protocol means he will miss this week’s match against the champions.

“He had no symptoms after the game,” Smith added. “He felt fine and to my knowledge he’s had no issues and is going through the return to play process.”

READ NEXT: Humbled Lindsey Burrow to step “out of comfort zone” for Rob