Leeds Rhinos are one of Super League’s most decorated clubs. With seven Grand Final wins since 2007, the Yorkshire side should be fighting it out at the top of the table on a regular basis. Unfortunately, Leeds have failed to inspire confidence this season – the Rhinos are on a torrid eight-match losing run in Super League and head coach Brian McDermott paid the ultimate price for his side’s failure to defend their 2017 crown.
Club legend Kevin Sinfield is now the director of rugby for the Rhinos and he has wasted no time whatsoever in getting stuck in. Leeds announced earlier this month that Wests Tigers half-back Tuimoala Lolohea will move to Headingley ahead of the 2019 campaign. Arguably one of rugby league’s brightest prospects, the 23-year-old attracted attention whilst playing for his native Tonga at the 2017 World Cup.
— Leeds Rhinos (@leedsrhinos) July 10, 2018
It hasn’t been plain sailing for Lolohea, though. Despite finishing as Wests Tigers’ top points scorer last season, the Tonga half-back has struggled to maintain that level of performance this season; though you could claim that is down to injury issues rather than his own game. Lolohea has made just six appearances so far this campaign and he should be relatively fresh for the 2019 Super League season.
Leeds are all but out of the race for Grand Final glory this year; optimistic rugby league betting punters can back the Rhinos at 100/1 to lift the trophy at Old Trafford. As of July 11th, Leeds are ninth in the Super League table and it would take a brave man to back McDermott’s side on current form. The Rhinos have already started to plan ahead for next season and that is almost certainly the correct decision…
Some overseas players do struggle to adjust to life in England’s top flight but Leeds have an excellent support network and Lolohea has the talent to mature into a Super League great. Sinfield is a brilliant judge of character and he has had nothing but praise for the Tigers star thus far. At just 23 years old, he is playing like an experienced professional and Leeds fans are excited at what the future holds.
Lolohea is relishing the opportunity to prove himself in Super League, stating: “I am really excited, it is a long way from home but a different challenge for me and something I am looking forward to.” The Headingley faithful will be hoping that he can settle quickly to life in Yorkshire and a long and successful career could be on the cards. Watch this space, Lolohea could sparkle for the Rhinos next season.
On paper, Lolohea looks the ideal fit for Leeds and he should shine in Super League. Since losing the likes of Jamie Peacock and Kevin Sinfield, the Rhinos have lost their identity somewhat and Lolohea can help Leeds to regain it. A positive start to the 2019 campaign should see confidence soar and that may help to get the Rhinos fan base dreaming once again.