Karl Pratt has the first chance to establish himself in Iestyn Harris's role of stand-off when Leeds play Bradford in the first match of a new era this evening. The departure of Harris – permanent or temporary – to rugby union gives Pratt an extended chance in the position in which he made his name as a teenager at Featherstone.
Although Leeds will use part of the proceeds from the Harris deal to sign a high-quality back, he will not necessarily be a specialist in the same position. "Karl Pratt gets the first chance," said the Leeds chief executive, Gary Hetherington. "He likes the position and it could well be that he will come through strongly."
Leeds face a Bulls team still stinging from last Saturday's shock defeat at Warrington and still without the injured Stuart Fielden.
The Rhinos have more than their captain to replace, their former technical director, Steve Anderson, officially takes charge at Warrington for the first time tomorrow. As he has taken the Leeds Academy coach, David Plange, with him, there are two vacancies to fill at Headingley. "I spoke to a number of people in Australia who would be well-qualified, but, ideally, I would like to appoint Englishmen," said Hetherington.
Anderson gives Paul Smith, a back-rower on loan from Dewsbury, his debut against Castleford, who could also have a loan signing in their line-up, with Featherstone's Jamie Rooney, covering for the injury doubts over Danny Orr – flagged up as a target for Leeds – Mitch Healey and Mark Lennon.
Jason Hetherington returns to the London Broncos side ahead of expectations to face Wakefield tomorrow, having recovered from the knee surgery that has kept him out for the last three months. Glen Air, outstanding in the new role of hooker in Hetherington's absence, drops to the bench.
The two players involved in a loan swap between Huddersfield and Halifax are to make their debuts for their new clubs. Dale Cardoza will be on the wing for Halifax at Hull, while the New Zealander, Martin Moana, is in Huddersfield's squad against Salford.
Halifax are without Andrew Dunemann and Daryl Cardiss, but Paul Davidson is available after escaping suspension and Jason Lee is back after an eight week absence.
The England Academy coach, Mike Gregory, has brought the Leeds centre, Gareth Morton, and the Huddersfield prop, Eorl Crabtree, into his side to meet Australia in the second Test at the Sydney Football Stadium today. The English Under-18s lost the first Test 18-12 in Brisbane last week.Reuse content