Luke Hooley set for Leeds debut but Rhinos without key duo for Hull KR trip

Drew Darbyshire
Luke Hooley Leeds Rhinos SWpix

Photo: Allan McKenzie/SWpix

Leeds coach Rohan Smith has handed new recruit Luke Hooley his debut against Hull KR after being named to start at full-back.

The 24-year-old joined the Rhinos in the off-season on a two-year deal from Championship side Batley.

Hooley will start at full-back for Leeds in their televised clash against Hull KR on Friday night.

Smith said: “I’m excited for Luke. He’s been working a long time to get to this point and the opportunity has arisen.

“Its a good moment for us to give him his debut, he’s ready, he’s been putting in a lot of hard work on the training field so I just want him to go and be himself. He knows how to play footy so just get out there with the boys and get stuck in.”

Rhinos without key duo

However, the Rhinos will be without key duo Richie Myler and Nene Macdonald, who are both surprise absentees.

Smith said: “Nene has had a bit of a calf niggle over the past few days so we haven’t pushed it. It’s early in the season.

“Richie has spent a bunch of time in the hospital with the birth of his new little baby so we’ve given him a little bit of time off to settle in at home.”

Derrell Olpherts, who joined the Rhinos from Castleford ahead of this season, starts the game on the wing.

England international Mikolaj Oledzki is set to make his first appearance of the season after being named on the bench.

Ireland international James Bentley returns to Smith’s side having served a one-match suspension.

Luke Hooley in for Leeds, Ryan Hall in for Hull KR

England winger Ryan Hall was a doubt for this one due to a knee injury, but he has been named in Willie Peters’ matchday 17.

The Robins are without centre Tom Opacic though, who has impressed since arriving from the NRL in the off-season.

James Batchelor, normally a forward, has moved into the outside-back positions in the absence of Opacic.

Hull KR are boosted by the returns of Jordan Abdull, Frankie Halton and Dean Hadley after the trio completed their return to play concussion protocols.

Ireland international Halton comes into the back-rower, partnering Scotland forward Kane Linnett.

Hull KR: Coote; Senior, Wood, Batchelor, Hall; Lewis, Abdull; Kennedy, Parcell, King, Halton, Linnett, Minchella. Subs: Sue, Litten, Hadley, Luckley. 18th man: Storton.

Leeds: Hooley; Fusitu’a, Newman, Martin, Olpherts; Austin, Sezer; Holroyd, O’Connor, Tetevano, McDonnell, Bentley, Smith. Subs: Oledzki, Roberts, Lisone, Sangare. 18th man: Johnson.

The Round Seven Super League clash takes place at Hull KR’s Craven Park, live on Sky Sports from 8pm.

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