Leeds Rhinos Foundation’s Physical Disability Rugby League (PDRL) team kick off their 2019 campaign on Sunday, and the side’s new coach Dan Roberts has spoken of his excitement ahead of the season opener against Wakefield Trinity and Wigan Warriors.
Roberts, who captained the Rhinos PDRL side last year during their inaugural campaign, will now operate in a player-coach role and praised his squad for helping to make his switch into management a smooth one.
“Preparations have been a little different this year, with me now taking on a coaching role as well as playing, but having such a good bunch of lads around me has been a massive help with making that transition into coaching,” said Roberts.
“So far, things are going very well in my new role and we have made some big strides from last year. We’ve been getting great numbers coming to training and we have a couple of exciting new lads coming in to add to last year’s squad.”
“All the lads, including myself, are buzzing for the start of the season and we can’t wait to get back out there and start our season on Sunday.”
For the first time, the Rhinos will face two different opponents in one day, as part of the PDRL competition’s re-structure to a festival format. Both matches will last for 25 minutes, with a five-minute interval in between.
According to forward Tom Kaye, it is important that the side do not look too far ahead and still approach the day one game at a time.
“Each game presents a different challenge. We know that Wakefield like to play it fast and get it out to their wingers to use their pace, but Wigan are a bit of an enigma and nobody knows much about them,” said Kaye.
“As with playing any side from Wigan it will be a tough, physical encounter but we’ve prepared well and we’re ready to step up to the challenge.”
Kaye is one of several debutants to be named in Sunday’s squad, adding: “I’ve been really excited to put a Rhinos kit on since my first training session in January. It’s been a long time coming so we know that we’ve had enough preparation time together as a team now.”
Rhinos face Wakefield Trinity at 1pm, before then taking on Wigan Warriors at 1:30pm as part of the day’s festival of Physical Disability Rugby League at Eastmoor Dragons ARLFC, Woodhouse Road, Wakefield, WF1 4RD.
Entry is FREE for all spectators, with limited car parking on site.
The full 13-man Leeds Rhinos PDRL squad for Sunday is:
Dan Roberts (C)- sponsored by Reflex Group Ltd
Tom Sheridan- sponsored by Rainbow IT Services
Simon Brown- Fired Up Technologies Ltd