Recovering Senior has option to rejoin the champions

Keith Senior could rejoin Leeds Rhinos next season on a pay-as-you-play deal

The Super League champions, who yesterday signed Huddersfield Giants and England prop Darrell Griffin on a three-year contract for an undisclosed fee, revealed the veteran centre may yet return to Headingley Carnegie.

Senior agreed a move to Crusaders earlier this year after suffering a season-ending knee injury, with Leeds sanctioning his release.

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But the Crusaders’ withdrawal from Super League left Senior without a club, and it was then revealed he had the option of an extra year with Leeds.

Adding to his 365 games for the club seemed unlikely, though, after the 35-year-old criticised head coach Brian McDermott in his recently-released autobiography.

But chief executive Gary Hetherington insists Senior still has a future with the recently-crowned champions.

“We offered Keith a one-year deal for 2012 before his injury and, at the time, Brian McDermott did explain to Keith that the club would be stepping up its search to find a ‘Keith Senior replacement’ and if he stayed, he would have to fight for his place like all other players,” he said.

“Keith later signed for the Crusaders with our best wishes but this, unfortunately, was to fall through and Keith’s situation is made more complicated because of his knee reconstruction.

“We will continue to look after him and all his rehabilitation until he is fully recovered and Keith has also been offered a job to work for the club at the expiry of his playing contract and a pay-per-play contract for 2012, which he is still considering.

“If he was to get a better offer from another club, he would also have the option to take it up.

“This type of arrangement and support is typical of what Leeds Rhinos would provide for any of its players who have given long and outstanding service and Keith certainly falls into this category.

“It has been disappointing, therefore, to read some of the implied criticism of the club’s handling of this situation as we take great pride in the support we give to all our players and Keith is no exception.”

Meanwhile, Griffin’s move from the Galpharm to Leeds was one of the worst-kept secrets in the game. He said: “When I was told that I could speak to other clubs, once I became aware of Leeds’ interest in me, there was only one club that I wanted to join.”