Leeds Rhinos notebook: Matty Russell loan future, James Bentley, Tom Holroyd injury

Aaron Bower
James Bentley Leeds Rhinos Alamy

Leeds Rhinos’ interim coach Chev Walker met with the media on Friday to discuss a number of issues – including his own future in the role and the club’s hunt for Rohan Smith’s replacement.

Walker addressed that situation here, but as the Rhinos prepare to face London Broncos on Saturday afternoon, there were still plenty of other talking points for the interim Leeds coach to discuss.

Here’s the review and rundown of everything that was said in the Rhinos debrief.

Matty Russell’s loan to end

Matty Russell

Russell joined on loan from Warrington Wolves last month but has found opportunities difficult to come by. His loan ends next Wednesday – and Walker confirmed that it is almost certain that deal will not be renewed.

It means Russell, who is heading for Wakefield Trinity in 2025, will return to Warrington.

When asked if the deal would be renewed, Walker said: “I don’t think so. When he came in we were down to the bare bones, and we’ve had players return and consistently training so I don’t think it’d be fair on both parties.

“He’d be waiting again for an opportunity but he’s done a good job, come with a great attitude and added to the group. But opportunities haven’t been there so he’ll be returning.”

James Bentley progress

James Bentley Leeds Rhinos Alamy

Leeds will welcome back a number of key squad members this weekend – but the likes of James Bentley remain sidelined due to a concussion-related problem.

However, there is good news with Bentley – who is inching closer to towards a return to full-contact training, Walker confirmed. He will be subject to rigorous protocol before being allowed to return to play, though.

“James is close,” Walker said. “He’s upped his training a little bit, there’s a return to contact being put in place and he’ll be in full training some time soon.”

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Tom Holroyd setback

Tom Holroyd Leeds Rhinos Alamy

One player who will be stood down for the foreseeable future, though, is prop Tom Holroyd.

Holroyd suffered a concussion against Hull FC last month and missed the victory over Leigh Leopards before the international break as a result. And Walker admitted there is no timeframe whatsoever pencilled in for Holroyd to return to action.

He said: “It’s going to be a period. He’s not going to play any time soon. We’ve got to leave that to the medical team and support him through this period.”

Max Simpson

Simpson has been missing for a long time, after suffering an ACL injury during pre-season.

But Walker admitted the young back is making excellent progress. He said: “Max has been unbelievable in his recovery. He’s had a few setbacks but never wavered. We’ve took our time with him and made sure what he needs. There’s no rush with him. We have to get it right with him so he has a long run of it and goes the rest of his career without anything major.”

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