Hull KR v Leeds Rhinos - Depleted Rhinos handed timely boost with return of key players

ENGLAND hopeful Ash Handley is “ready to go” again for Leeds Rhinos and gives them a timely boost tonight.

BACK IN THE GAME: Leeds Rhinos' Ash Handley was injured in the tackle Huddersfield Giants' Jake Wardle. Picture:Tony Johnson

The prolific winger, who signed a new contract until the end of 2024 earlier this week, hopes to make his first appearance of the campaign in their game at Hull KR. Handley injured his knee in pre-season against Huddersfield Giants but is one of five players who could return for Richard Agar’s injury-ravaged squad at Hull College Craven Park.

“I’ve been in with the side this week and started back full training on Monday,” he said.

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“There’s been no dramas. I feel fit and ready to go and looking forward to getting out on the pitch with the boys.

WELCOME RETURN: Leeds Rhinos' Konrad Hurrell. Picture: Jonathan Gawthorpe

“It has been frustrating; we had a long pre-season, I was feeling fit and ready to rip straight back in when, 20 minutes into our friendly game, I had to come off

“It was annoying but I’ve worked hard and this has come around quite quick.

“I thought I’d be feeling worse about it but I’ve ticked things off and I’m ready to go.”

Tonga centre Konrad Hurrell is also set for his first game of the season while full-back/half-back Richie Myler plus forwards Bodene Thompson and King Vuniyayawa are others hoping to return as Leeds seek to end a three-game losing sequence.

The Challenge Cup holders will face a Rovers side full of confidence after they delivered their first win of the campaign, a narrow 25-24 success over Huddersfield Giants.

Rovers also have Kiwi international Brad Takairangi, one of their big NRL signings, set for his Super League debut.

Like Handley, the former Parramatta Eels player was injured in a pre-season outing but could come in at stand-off for the suspended Mikey Lewis.

Meanwhile, Rhinos have seen ex-England Academy forward Sam Walters, 20, agree a new contract until the end of 2023.

He has featured in their last two games, playing the full 80 minutes in last week’s loss against Wigan Warriors.

Leeds director of rugby Kevin Sinfield added: “Sam was already an England Academy international when he joined us from Widnes so clearly had potential.

“However, he has worked hard over the last 18 months to improve his game and we are seeing the fruits of that work in the games he has played recently.

“As a club, we always look to reward players for their efforts and we are pleased to be able to offer Sam a new contract and that he has accepted it.”

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