Leeds Rhinos: Quartet of new signings to make first appearances in Wakefield Trinity friendly on Boxing Day

Ben Olawumi
Lachlan Miller, Mickael Goudemand, Matt Frawley, Andy Ackers

Lachlan Miller (far left), Mickael Goudemand (second from left), Matt Frawley (third from left) & Andy Ackers (far right) are all new Leeds Rhinos recruits ahead of 2024 - Alamy

Four of Leeds Rhinos’ off-season recruits are in line to make their first appearances for the club on Boxing Day as they host Wakefield Trinity in the ‘Wetherby Whaler’ friendly at Headingley.

This will be the 20th year that two clubs have met in the festive annual challenge, facing off every year since 2004 except 2020 at the height of the COVID-19 Pandemic.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, it’s Leeds who have the better record in the friendly encounters between the pair, winning 11 of the 19 so far, though it was Wakefield who triumphed this time last year with a 38-20 victory.

Trinity, of course, would go on to endure a campaign which resulted in relegation, and will travel to Headingley as a Championship side under the management of veteran head coach Daryl Powell.

After a disappointing 8th place finish in the season just gone on the back of a Grand Final appearance in 2022, Rohan Smith‘s Rhinos meanwhile have brought in seven new additions in total, with their 21-man squad for the Boxing Day clash made public knowledge earlier today.

Leeds Rhinos name squad for Boxing Day friendly against Wakefield Trinity: Quartet of new signings to make first appearances

NRL recruits Lachlan Miller and Matt Frawley are in the 21, alongside Andy Ackers and Mickael Goudemand, who have made the move to Headingley from Salford Red Devils and Catalans Dragons respectively.

Hooker Ackers – who will turn 30 on Christmas Day – linked up with Leeds alongside team-mate Brodie Croft, the 2022 Super League Man of Steel.

Croft won’t feature on the 26th however, and neither will fellow Australian Paul Momirovski, another NRL recruit. The pair have been granted leave to remain Down Under over the Christmas period.

Youngster Kieran Hudson, brought in from Castleford Tigers, is also absent though it remains unclear whether that’s injury-related. The Sunderland-born prop missed last season with an Achilles injury, but was said to be back to full fitness when penning his deal at Headingley.

Other confirmed Rhinos absentees include Mikolaj Oledzki, Cameron Smith, James Bentley and Tom Holroyd. Leeds say ‘they are not risked due to recovering from injury or illness’.

Harry Newman (England) and Rhyse Martin (Papua New Guinea) meanwhile will not feature having represented their countries at the end of last season.

Brothers Ned and Fergus McCormack are included by boss Smith, brought in from rugby union outfit Woodhouse Grove School and local rugby league side Guiseley Rangers respectively.

Leeds Rhinos squad for ‘Wetherby Whaler’ pre-season clash with Wakefield Trinity

Leeds’ 21-man squad for the Boxing Day clash can be found below…

1. Lachlan Miller

2. David Fusitu’a

5. Ash Handley

7. Matt Frawley

9. Andy Ackers

14. Jarrod O’Connor

15. Sam Lisone

16. James McDonnell

17. Justin Sangare

18. Mickael Goudemand

19. Derrell Olpherts

20. Morgan Gannon

21. Jack Sinfield

24. Luis Roberts

26. Corey Johnson

29. Alfie Edgell

30. Tom Nicholson-Watton

Jack Smith

Ned McCormack

Fergus McCormack

Ben Littlewood

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