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King to LS6 - Last Piece in the Jigsaw?
Posted by southstander on October 26 2005 - 07:06:54

Last Man In?

The post-season, pre-tri-nations transfer market seems to have been very active over recent days. But with the exception of the Rhinos being given permission to talk to Hull FC's Paul King, there has been no Rhinos involvement on the 'incoming' side.

Looking at the squad as it currently stands, compared to the side we had at the start of last season, the only conclusion you can come to is that we are considerably weaker.

We take a look at who is replacing who.

Since the start of last season the Rhinos have lost eight of the players in the 'Official Handbook 2005' with squad numbers from one to twenty-seven. These are players in first team contention/regulars, who you would expect that we would need to replace with equal calibre to 'tread water'.

To give Gary and Tony the benefit of the doubt, we should perhaps work on the premise that squad numbers one to twenty are regular first teamers, and therefore twenty-one to twenty-seven can be considered as replacements promoted from the ranks. That gives us Scruton, Smith, Ablett, Murrell and Golden that could all come into the reckoning.

Assuming that 'permission to talk' means that Paul King is destined to be wearing Blue & Amber next season (I bet that one made for interesting pillow talk at the Hetherington household!), then his signing could well be the last that Rhinos supporters can expect.

DepartingReplacement
Liam BothamJason Golden
Wayne McDonaldNick Scruton
Chris McKennaJamie Peacock
Marcus BaiScott Donald
Mark CalderwoodLee Smith
Barrie McDermottPaul King?
Francis CumminsCarl Ablett
Andrew DunemannShane Millard

Promoting Nick Scruton, Jason Golden, Lee Smith and Carl Ablett, along with the four new signings will give us the Rhinos twenty for next season. You can see Garys thinking here, but I doubt that it will be enough to satisfy most Rhinos supporters who see 2005 as a year of failure, when set against the lofty achievements of 2004.

Of the players coming in, only Peacock could be defined as 'World Class' and many will see many of the rest of the arrivals/promotions as below the standard of the players that they are replacing. It will certainly be a cheaper side to run (salary wise) and this will allow Gary to increase the packages of players now established as the backbone of the side (McGuire, Burrow, Diskin, and JJB).

Only time will tell if King really is the last piece of the Rhinos 2006 jigsaw, but my feeling is that he probably will be.

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