Leeds Rhinos legend makes Rhyse Martin plea amidst speculation of departure

Ross Heppenstall

Barrie McDermott has urged the Leeds Rhinos hierarchy to keep Rhyse Martin at Headingley beyond this season, warning: “Letting him leave would be a huge mistake.”

Martin has emerged as one of Leeds’ most influential players following his arrival from NRL side Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs on a two-and-a-half-year contract in June 2019.

The 31-year-old’s current deal expires at the end of 2024, though, and he is attracting interest from rival clubs in Super League and the NRL. Yet 2004 Grand Final winner McDermott has warned Leeds they must do all they can to extend Martin’s stay at the club.

“I wish Leeds Rhinos would get Rhyse Martin tied up on a new deal to keep him at Headingley,” McDermott told Love Rugby League.

“Having been around the environment at Leeds and the way that he is, I can see how strongly Rhyse connects to the club.

“He’s not someone who was born in Leeds but I believe he’s become a Leeds lad because he’s so passionate about the club and the famous blue and amber jersey. That’s him as a character but clearly he’s a fantastic player.”

Former Leeds boss Rohan Smith recently revealed that the club have made Martin an offer to stay at Headingley beyond this season.

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A prolific goalkicker, Martin’s versatility has seen fill various positions during his time at Leeds and earn huge popularity amongst South Standers.

“Rhyse can play back row and centre and is a very good goalkicker,” continued McDermott. “He’s a very good runner of the ball – he runs great lines – and is a decent defender too.

“The quicker they can get Rhyse Martin signed up the better because his influence on the environment at Leeds Rhinos is huge.

“Everyone talks about culture and I think Rhyse leads that culture at Headingley. He’s a very selfless player who puts the team first and I can tell you, having played with some of the very best, that when four points turns into six more often than not then you’ve got a good chance of winning.

“Rhyse’s goalkicking is not the only outstanding facet to his game, but my word it’s important in those big matches. He would score quite highly in most aspects of his game and the way in which he influences people around him.

“If Leeds don’t keep hold of him then I think it would be a massive mistake by them. They just need to get it done.”

McDermott, meanwhile, reckons defending Super League champions Wigan Warriors and Warrington Wolves have an edge over their rivals when recruiting players due to their fixture in Las Vegas next March.

He added: “Whoever the recruitment manager is at these two clubs has just been given a golden ticket because who wouldn’t want the chance to play in this Las Vegas extravaganza?

“It’s a chance for players to be a part of something very unique and historic for Super League. We’ve been asking for something big to pierce the consciousness of rugby league in this country.

“It could well be this Las Vegas extravaganza between Wigan and Warrington next March. It’s definitely an advantage for both clubs when it comes to signing players for 2025.”


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