Leeds Rhinos v Leigh Centurions: McDermott prepares to hand youngsters opportunity to shine

Leeds Rhinos' 
Cameron Smith.
Leeds Rhinos' Cameron Smith.
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ACADEMY players Sam Hallas and Cameron Smith have been drafted into Leeds Rhinos’ initial squad for tomorrow’s final game of the season.

Rhinos will be without prop Keith Galloway and scrum-half Rob Burrow for the visit of Kingstone Press Championship leaders Leigh Centurions in the First Utility Qualifiers.

Galloway has undergone surgery on a torn Achilles suffered in Sunday’s defeat at Huddersfield Giants and will be sidelined for around six months.

Burrow, Rhinos’ player of the year, suffered knee damage in the same game. He is awaiting a specialist’s report, but the injury is not believed to be as serious as first thought.

Jordan Lilley (head and knee) and Carl Ablett (ankle) have both been named in the squad for Thursday, despite being unable to finish last week’s game. Loose-forward Smith made one substitute appearance earlier this season and Hallas – who has been playing at hooker, but can also operate at prop – has been on the bench twice.

Anthony Mullally is also back in contention, along with Ryan Hall, who missed the defeat at Huddersfield due to an ankle problem. Brett Delaney Danny McGuire, Mitch Achurch and Mitch Garbutt remain on Rhinos’ casualty list.

Galloway’s injury means he will miss the start of next season and is also ruled out of Scotland’s Four Nations campaign against England, Australia and New Zealand this autumn.

Salford Red Devils’ owner Marwan Koukash has stepped up his interest in acquiring a significant stake in an Australian NRL club.

Koukash is keen to become involved with NRL wooden spoonists Newcastle Knights, although it is believed it will not be at the expense of the Red Devils.

The wealthy racehorse owner – disillusioned with the governance of rugby league in England – has said he will consider his position with the Super League club once their fight against relegation is over, but he is unlikely to leave the club in the lurch.

Koukash is thought to have reassured the players of his commitment to the club.

Ireland international Bob Beswick has become the latest player to sign for newly-formed Toronto Wolfpack ahead of their entry into League 1 in 2017.

The 31-year-old Leigh hooker will combine a playing role under his former club bosses Paul Rowley and Simon Finnigan with that of head of strength and conditioning at the Canadian club.