Leeds Rhinos will be without new signings Kruise Leeming and Alex Mellor for their Boxing Day clash against Wakefield Trinity.

Leeming has picked up a knee injury during a recent combat training exercise, while the injury is not seen as serious coach Richard Agar has opted to pull him from selection.

Mellor, who was also set to feature at Headingley, has picked up a groin problem and again will not be risked so soon after doing it.

Another player who was hoping to impress was youngster Muizz Mustapha – but he hasn’t recovered from an ankle injury and his place on the bench will be taken by Wellington Albert before he joins Featherstone Rovers on loan.

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Agar told the club website: “We have had a really good pre-season in terms of injuries but unfortunately just before our first run out we have picked up two on the same day. Both Kruise and Alex are desperate to play, having recently joined the club, but we have to be smart with both given the important part they will play in our season.

“Corey Johnson, who has been outstanding in training, will get the chance to impress at hooker whilst Alex Sutcliffe will now start in the second row instead of off the bench.

“Muizz Mustapha rolled his ankle in training last week and we had hoped he would be right for Boxing Day but, like Kruise and Alex, we need to make sure he is fully fit so he can give the best account of himself. His spot on the bench will be taken by Wellington Albert.

“Jack Broadbent, who finished the 2019 season in great form for the Under 19s and Featherstone, will come on to the bench to fill the gap left by Alex Sutcliffe.

“It is still a really exciting line up with Luke Gale and Rob Lui linking up for the first time and the boys have been in great spirits in training.”

The team in full is:
1 Jack Walker
3 Harry Newman
15 Liam Sutcliffe
4 Konrad Hurrell
5 Ash Handley
6 Rob Lui
7 Luke Gale
8 Ava Seumanufagai
29 Corey Johnson
19 Mikolaj Oledzki
26 Alex Sutcliffe
13 Stevie Ward (c)
22 Cameron Smith
14 Brad Dwyer
16 Richie Myler
17 Adam Cuthbertson
25 James Donaldson
34 Jack Broadbent
35 Wellington Albert