Leigh Leopards recruitment report: retention plans, possible 2025 line-up, targets analysed

Aaron Bower

With clubs across Super League preparing for 2025, Love Rugby League will be taking a deeper look at every club’s plans in terms of recruitment and retention for next season.

Next under the microscope is Leigh Leopards who, on the face of it, have a lot of work to do this winter. With a whole host of big names leaving, it feels like the changing of the guard at the Leigh Sports Village for Adrian Lam’s squad.

Here’s how they’re shaping up.

Players under contract for 2025

As it stands, Leigh have just 16 players under contract confirmed for next year.

Fullback: Gareth O’Brien.
Wing: Josh Charnley, Umyla Hanley, Darnell McIntosh.
Half-back: Matt Moylan, Lachlan Lam, Ben McNamara.
Prop/13: Robbie Mulhern, Dan Norman, Owen Trout, Aaron Pene.
Hooker: Edwin Ipape, Brad Dwyer.
Second-row: Matt Davis, Frankie Halton, Louis Brogan.

Who’s still off-contract?

There are a staggering 14 players off-contract at Leigh whose futures are yet to be officially resolved. They are:

Zak Hardaker, Ricky Leutele, Jack Hughes, Ben Nakubuwai, Ed Chamberlain, Oli Holmes, Keanan Brand, Nathan Wilde, Tom Nisbet, Jacob Gannon, Jacob Jones, Lewis Baxter, Jack Darbyshire, Kavan Rothwell

John Asiata and Tom Amone’s departures have already been confirmed while Zak Hardaker, Ed Chamberlain and Oli Holmes are heading for Hull FC with Asiata in 2025. That means that there is a significant amount of cap space for the Leopards to play with.

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Who else is joining?

Love Rugby League revealed this week that Newcastle Knights man David Armstrong is on his way to the club in 2025 after he decided against signing a new deal in the NRL. That is a major piece of business – and Armstrong is being earmarked to play fullback for the Leopards next season.

Reports this week from Rugby League Live have also linked Leigh with an ambitious move for out-of-contract Leeds forward Rhyse Martin for 2025. But it is clear that Leigh are going to be incredibly aggressive in the market with cap space and quota space to shop with.

What’s their quota situation?

Even factoring in Armstrong’s expected arrival, Leigh have three quota spaces still available for next season. Matt Moylan, Armstrong, Aaron Pene and Edwin Ipape would be their quota players.

Lachlan Lam is, of course, exempt from the quota – meaning Leigh are one of a handful of Super League clubs who can go to the market in the NRL for a number of targets.

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Where do they need to strengthen?

It appears clear what Leigh need in their 2025 squad as things stand: centres. Of their regular first-choice starting duo this year of Ricky Leutele and Zak Hardaker, Leutele’s future remains unclear while Hardaker is heading for Hull FC.

It is still not out of the equation that Leigh re-sign Leutele, with the player open to an extended stay at the Leigh Sports Village. But even with that deal, you would argue Leigh still need at least two more established centres to provide competition in the backline.

Leigh seem to be largely covered elsewhere in the backline, and they will turn their attention to strengthening their pack. Back-row is clearly in need of depth and strength as is, you would argue, the front row, too.

In short: there’s still lots of business for Leigh to do.

2025 line-up as it stands

David Armstrong; Josh Charnley, Darnell McIntosh, Gareth O’Brien, Umyla Hanley, Matt Moylan, Lachlan Lam, Robbie Mulhern, Edwin Ipape, Aaron Pene, Frankie Halton, Louis Brogan, Owen Trout.

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