Jon Wells’ Super League Big Changes Tour – Leeds Rhinos, Hull FC, Hull KR and Castleford Tigers | Rugby League News

Leeds had a lot to think about after ending the year without a trophy

Leeds Rhinos, the two Hull clubs and the Castleford Tigers are next to come as Sky Sports rugby league expert Jon Wells looks to 2022 …

Yesterday we signed while looking for passports in Toulouse and heading back to England to continue our Big Changes Tour from club to club. Well, as we land at Leeds Bradford Airport today we only have a short trip for perhaps the best example of the big changes I see in Super League clubs ahead of a crucial 2022. .

Leeds rhinoceros acted after another trophy-less season – too long a season for a club with the fanbase and resources at its disposal. Their heavy loss to St Helens in the 2021 semi-final highlighted the gap that currently exists between the high and the very high, and forced the former virtual tenants of Old Trafford to watch the new powers of the sport. to fight. toe in Manchester.

The Rhinos reacted accordingly, with Aiden Sezer signing from the Huddersfield Giants, followed by former Canberra Raiders teammate Blake Austin as well as major additions to James Bentley and David Fusitu’a.

These are four very high quality signings in my opinion, but make no mistake, this is a real shake up. Fan favorite Konrad Hurrell and their captain over the past two seasons, the man they paid hefty fees for in 2019, are also gone.

Luke Gale will aim to be a force for Hull FC next season, but more on that in a moment. Adding to the mix are lingering rumors that Richard Agar will move upstairs and have a new head coach installed for 2022, although that will happen ahead of the preseason is another question.

What Rhinos fans are seeing is a big response, a big reaction, a big change of direction and a real show of faith in their incoming stars that they are ready to install, especially a brand new pair of running backs. -dos, again.

Aidan Sezer is one of the new Leeds half-back signings for 2022

Aidan Sezer is one of the new Leeds half-back signings for 2022

The consequence of this change at Headingley is that the aforementioned Gale will instead aim to be a force for Hull FC in 2022, as they look to England’s international half-back and former Man of Steel for help shedding the ‘Could Do Better’ label that has recently harassed them.

Blacks and whites remain an enigma, don’t they? Injury and inconsistency chased them again in 2021 and a possible eighth place finish, not to mention the ignominy of having to watch their bitter rivals from the east end of the city reach the semifinals of the playoffs, prompted more change – and I actually think they’ve done a lot of business here.

I’m going to take you to the stands at MKM Stadium to show you what I mean, because that’s where you can really see how well Luke Gale will complete this team harnessed to Josh Reynolds.

The change is subtle, but it’s there if you watch. Marc Sneyd, who evolved to adapt to Gale’s arrival, is a superb player and genuinely gifted with the boot – but he doesn’t engage the defensive line the way Gale does.

Luke Gale moved to Hull FC after Marc Sneyd changed to Salford

Luke Gale moved to Hull FC after Marc Sneyd changed to Salford

By the way, there’s a difference between taking the defensive line – for example, as you’ll see Austin doing for Leeds – and hiring defenders. This is Gale’s great strength.

Take a look there at Hull FC training; the configuration of the games they play in attack are all the more clear. Luke has the advantage; the starting positions, the timing, the angle of the race – all communicated, barked even, to teammates by a true general of the sports field, which will mean they will engage and engage defenders more regularly than before .

This, in turn, will amount to an extra quarter of a second, more often, for the mercurial Jake Connor and he will take care of the rest.

The big change here has been the call to end Sneyd’s career at FC as he has been exceptional, in a different way than Gale, for several years for this team. But I think it’s the difference for them in 2022 that could turn them into a play-off team.

Tony Smith guided Hull KR to the Super League semi-finals last season

Tony Smith guided Hull KR to the Super League semi-finals last season

Now, since we are in East Yorkshire, our next obvious stop is Hull Kingston Rovers and what a season they’ve had under the frosty leadership of Tony Smith, inspired by the courage and resilience displayed by their former player Mose Masoe in the face of a life-changing injury.

It has given this club a motivation and purpose which means that there have been changes to the Robins for quite some time already, and it is perhaps one of the few clubs that does not react in the same way. way than the others. This is well-managed organic growth and development in action.

Let’s not be naive here, significant sums have been spent over the last 18 months in this part of town as well, but this is targeted recruitment and the return on that investment has been clear, and it has been again closely focused on the future. of the 2022 season.

At Sam Wood they secured the services of one of the bright youngsters who made their way to the Super League last season and I have been extremely impressed with Frankie Halton every time I have seen him don a Featherstone Rovers jersey. in the championship in 2021. They will be great additions and will develop well in this environment.

Lachlan Coote set to have a big impact at Hull KR

Lachlan Coote set to have a big impact at Hull KR

But their key signing for the coming season is one of the best in the Super League at Lachlan Coote. He has been absolutely essential to St Helens’ success since being with them and will add so much to an already promising team. Robins fans should be rightly excited about what’s to come next year.

Back along the M62, heading west, and the next club we reach is at junction 32 and a visit to The Mend-A-Hose Jungle. The end of the Daryl Powell era brought a lot of changes to Castleford Tigers, on and off the pitch.

A change of head coach also very often means new support staff, and the new Lee Radford has made some big changes in this department. Just pop your head through the door here and you’ll witness the planning going on between Radford and his longtime right-hand man in Andy Last.

But, how rude to listen, let’s just let them do it for now and look elsewhere for other big changes in Cas – and they come to the pitch, where a coach is really and indirectly judged by the performance of his players.

Lee Radford oversees the start of a new era at Castleford

Lee Radford oversees the start of a new era at Castleford

I think Tigers fans will look at their signings with optimism as it gives them a decent clue as to what style of play they can expect to see in 2022. The high turnover of player staff was inevitable, but it may be worth it. -be better not to do it. analyze the number of incoming and outgoing players, rather the type of player Radford has opted for.

It’s a real mix of speed (Jake Mamo), durability (George Lawler), power (Mahe Fonua, Bureta Faraimo) and ball play ability (Joe Westerman) that, if they click, could really help. to smooth out what is going to be a difficult transition period. Yes, it’s the end of an era at Cas, but it just ushers in news for the West Yorkshire team.

And while we take a break for today, we’ll meet again tomorrow to take a look at another side of West Yorkshire, also undergoing change.


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Edward L. Robinett