SL Preview: Can Leeds remain at the top without McGuire and Burrow?

Leeds Rhinos lost club legends Danny McGuire and Rob Burrow at the end of last season so it will be interesting to see how they cope without them in 2018.

The club lost stalwarts Kevin Sinfield, Kylie Leuluai and Jamie Peacock at the end of the 2015 campaign and it was well documented that the Rhinos didn’t perform to expectations in 2016, finishing the regular campaign in the bottom four and having to compete in the Qualifiers.

Is this why they didn’t challenge for silverware in 2016? Who knows…

But, one thing for sure this year is that they have got a lot of strength in depth. They’ve got cover in every position.

Put it this way – when the likes of Jack Walker, Jimmy Keinhorst, Brett Ferres, Jordan Lilley, Keith Galloway, Nathaniel Peteru and Ash Handley have squad numbers outside of the regular 17-man squad – it just shows how strong the squad is.

The full-back role is one to keep an eye on this year. Rhinos coach Brian McDermott has two great young full-backs at his disposal in Ashton Golding and Jack Walker.

Jamaica international Golding has been given the number one shirt but Walker ended the season as Leeds’ full-back. It must be a great feeling for McDermott to have two players as good as Golding and Walker competing for the same spot.

Matt Parcell was fantastic in his debut season in the Betfred Super League last season and is the fourth favourite to pick up the Steve Prescott Man of Steel award in 2018, only behind Ben Barba, Luke Gale and George Williams.

If he can have an injury-free season, then Leeds are in with a good chance of picking up silverware.

But it all boils down to the McGuire and Burrow situation. It could go one or two ways – they could either play exactly like they did last year and challenge for trophies – or struggle to finish in the top four come the end of the regular campaign.

Head Coach: Brian McDermott

Assistant Coach: Barry Eaton

Captain: Kallum Watkins

Key Man: Matt Parcell

One to Watch: Jack Walker

Ins: Richie Myler (Catalans Dragons), Nathaniel Peteru (Gold Coast Titans), Brad Dwyer (Warrington Wolves)

Outs: Rob Burrow (Retired), Cory Aston (Castleford Tigers), Jordan Baldwinson (Wakefield Trinity), Danny McGuire (Hull KR) 

Squad: 1 Ashton Golding, 2 Tom Briscoe, 3 Kallum Watkins, 4 Liam Sutcliffe, 5 Ryan Hall, 6 Joel Moon, 7 Richie Myler, 8 Adam Cuthbertson, 9 Matt Parcell, 10 Brad Singleton, 11 Jamie Jones-Buchanan, 12 Carl Ablett, 13 Stevie Ward, 14 Brad Dwyer, 15 Brett Delaney, 16 Anthony Mullally, 17 Mitch Garbutt, 18 Jimmy Keinhorst, 19 Brett Ferres, 20 Keith Galloway, 21 Nathaniel Peteru, 22 Ash Handley, 23 Jack Ormondroyd, 24 Jack Walker, 25 Jordan Lilley, 26 Harry Newman, 27 Cameron Smith, 28 Mikolaj Oledzki, 29 Josh Jordan-Roberts, 30 Josh Walters, 31 Alex Sutcliffe.

Prediction: 4th

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