Rhinos will be competitive next season, insists Hetherington

Leeds Rhinos chief executive Gary Hetherington believes the club will remain competitive in 2015, despite losing more first team players than they have signed.

“Our policy is first and foremost to develop players and to give them an opportunity in the first team,” he told the Yorkshire Evening Post.

“If they are good enough and then to reward them for progressing in the game and ultimately to retain them.

“That is what we have done with the vast majority of our top players. The squad make-up is always about a balance between retention and replacement.

“So for 2015 out of our top-20 we have lost Ben Jones-Bishop, Chris Clarkson, Ryan Bailey and Ian Kirke.

“But in their places come Jimmy Keinhorst, Brad Singleton, Liam Sutcliffe and the new signing Adam Cuthbertson.

“The other 16 players have all been retained and they are our star international players.

“That is something of a novelty. Yes, other Super League teams have made more signings than us, but they have been signings to replace players – and in most cases good players – they’ve lost.

“St Helens, for example, have signed Travis Burns, but lost the services of Sia Soliola and Willie Manu.

“Warrington have made a great signing in Daryl Clark, but that’s to replace an outstanding player in Michael Monaghan. Ashton Sims has come in, but to replace Trent Waterhouse, who has been a great servant for Warrington.

“Wigan, who you’d expect to be up there, have signed Lee Mossop, but effectively that’s to replace Blake Green. We are aware other clubs have made signings, but they are to replace quality players they have lost.

“In our case we’ve retained all our top players and we are now able to give an opportunity to people like Brad Singleton, Liam Sutcliffe and Jimmy Keinhorst, who have all shown themselves to be outstanding Super League players.”