Leeds Rhinos: Rohan Smith rules out move for available NRL centre

Josh McAllister
Brenko Lee, Rohan Smith

Leeds coach Rohan Smith has ruled out a move for available NRL centre Brenko Lee following his release from the Dolphins earlier this week.

Ex-Queensland representative Lee, 27, has been released from the final 12 months of his contract in the NRL, confirming that he will continue his playing career in Super League.

The journeyman has made 88 appearances in the competition Down Under, scoring 25 tries, including stints with Canberra Raiders, Canterbury Bulldogs, Gold Coast Titans, Melbourne Storm, Brisbane Broncos and the Dolphins during their inaugural campaign.

He had originally signed a two-year deal with Wayne Bennett’s side ahead of 2023.

Lee’s agent, Chris Orr, confirmed conversations with Leeds and Catalans Dragons to News Corp, but boss Smith has ruled out a potential move, despite the uncertain future surrounding Nene Macdonald.

“I have been made aware he is available, but we have had no discussions about Brenko joining the club and that won’t be happening,” Smith told media on Thursday.

Orr of Pacific Sports Management previously told News Corp: “We’re currently talking to a number of clubs, including Catalans and Leeds, there’s a bit of interest.

“Brenko helped Wayne and the Dolphins kickstart their NRL campaign, but he now wants a different challenge in the Super League.”

Nene Macdonald faces uncertain future

The Leeds boss was also questioned about the future of centre Macdonald during his weekly press conference, with the Papua New Guinea star having returned to Australia for the birth of his child.

Macdonald, 29, had been named in the provisional 21-man squad to face Hull FC in Round 24. However, the club released a statement the night before the tie that he was yet to return.

Smith confirmed that the former Leigh man remains Down Under, with chief executive Gary Hetherington taking control of negotiations to allow Smith to focus on the remainder of the season with the slim hope of a play-off spot.

“That’s one that’s in Gary’s hands at the moment,” Smith said in his press conference on Thursday.

“I’m very focussed on what is a huge game on Saturday against Wigan.

“Gary will be sure to update me when there’s updates.

“I’m not going to speculate about possible scenarios or what may or may not happen. That’s in the hands of Gary and Nene’s management team.”

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