Luke Gale stood down as Leeds captain

Leeds have taken the captaincy away from England international Luke Gale.

The 33-year-old former Castleford player was left out of coach Richard Agar’s team for last Friday’s game against Salford and the club say he has been “stood down” as captain “for behaviours not aligned to team trademarks”.

In a statement, Gale said: “I would like to apologise to everyone connected to the club for my behaviour, which fell below the standards expected of our team.

“I will be making sure I give my absolute best every day to help the team achieve our goal this season.”

Leeds say Gale, who is in his second season at Headingley following his move from Castleford, will be available for Thursday’s Betfred Super League clash at Hull FC and they now see this matter closed.

Australian prop Matt Prior captained the team in Gale’s absence against the Red Devils and led them to a 38-16 victory.

Last week, Prior gave Leeds a boost by agreeing a new two-year contract that will keep him at Headingley until at least the end of 2023.

The 34-year-old has been a mainstay of the Rhinos since joining them from Cronulla ahead of the 2020 season and has stood in as captain in the absence of Gale at times this year.

Prior’s initial two-year contract was due to run out at the end of the season and his decision to stay on has delighted coach Richard Agar.

Agar said: “Matt has been fantastic for us during his time at the club and I don’t think you can underestimate how important this new deal is for the club and him.

“I know he has become a fans’ favourite and it will be great to see the reception he gets tonight when our fans return for the game against Salford.”

Prior said: “I am really pleased to have got it sorted as it has been going on for a little while now. I can focus on my footy now for the remainder of the season.

“The club offered me another year on top of the additional season I had an option for and I was glad to accept that as there are some exciting times ahead here at the Rhinos.

“It has been tough since we moved to England because of the Covid restrictions but there is light at the end of the tunnel now and I think the best is yet to come for me, my family and the Rhinos in my time at the club.”

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