Smith leaves Leeds' door open for O'Neill

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The Independent Online

The Australian forward Mark O'Neill could have played his last game for Leeds after tearing a leg muscle in training.

O'Neill, who has already been told that the Rhinos were not retaining him next season, will be out for up to six weeks. That would rule him out of the rest of the regular Super League season, leaving him with the difficult task of reclaiming his place for the play-offs.

His coach, Tony Smith, has not ruled out the possibility of him doing that. "I would like to think he would play for us again," he said.

The club's latest overseas signing, the New Zealand Warriors utility back Clinton Toopi, is in the country and is in contention for Friday night's game at Hull.

The Rhinos have also included Jamie Thackray, who is in line for a debut against the club that released him last month, and Danny McGuire, who missed the Challenge Cup semi-final defeat by Huddersfield on Sunday with shin splints.

The Catalans Dragons have released Ian Hindmarsh from the remaining two years of his contract. The former Canberra forward is understood to want to return to the family farm in Australia. "It is always disappointing to lose a player of Ian's calibre," said the club's general manager, Christophe Levy. "However, when a player comes to a club requesting a release, particularly for matters other than those related to playing rugby league, we would not stand in his way."

The Dragons have already signed Adam Mogg, Clint Greenshields and Casey McGuire as overseas recruits for next season.

Two of Wigan's overseas players who have had limited impact this season get a fresh chance against the Catalans on Friday night. Pat Richards comes in for Brett Dallas, who has an ankle injury, while a flare-up of Kris Radlinski's knee trouble has created a likely space for David Vaealiki.

"It is the perfect opportunity for both of them," said the coach, Brian Noble.

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