Leeds Rhinos have received a major boost ahead of their massive clash with rivals St Helens this Saturday at Headingley Carnegie with the news that all their out of contract players have agreed extensions for next season.
Keith Senior, Kylie Leuluai, Scott Donald, Matt Diskin, Danny Buderus, Ali Lauitiiti and Ryan Bailey were all due out of contract at the end of the current campaign but have now put pen to paper on new deals.
Commenting on the announcement Chief Executive Gary Hetherington said, “We appreciate that it is probably an unusual step to announce all seven players at once however we are keen to stop any speculation regarding the squad for the remainder of the season and looking ahead to 2011.
“Our policy is always to review the squad at the end of each season, which is what we have done for a number of years regardless of the success or failure of the previous campaign. We will continue with this policy but safe in the knowledge that our own world class talent is contracted to us for next season.
“In the current global market place and with more and more clubs spending to the full salary cap limit, the challenge of attracting and signing world class players is becoming tougher and tougher. Therefore, it makes sense to secure the very best players before looking elsewhere.
“We managed to re-sign Lee Smith earlier this season which was a major signing for the club but one that we could not have foreseen at the start of this season. Having also brought in Brett Delaney and Greg Eastwood at the start of the current season we are looking forward to having a consistent group of players for the next 18 months,” added Hetherington.
The news follows the recent announcement that Brian McClennan has agreed a new one year extension at the club and means that the Rhinos will head into the business end of the season without any distraction. Commenting on the news McClennan said, “I am delighted that everyone has agreed contract extensions. Our captain Kevin Sinfield has spoken publicly about what a special group of players we have here and I think this once again perfectly demonstrates this.
“We have had some tough times this season but that has only served to bring this group even closer together and everyone is determined to do as well as we can in both the Carnegie Challenge Cup and the end of season play offs. We were pleased with our win at Warrington last Sunday and we are very much looking forward to the challenge of taking on St Helens this Saturday back at Headingley Carnegie.”