Leeds Rhinos are on the hunt for a new captain following confirmation on Monday that Luke Gale had been stripped of the role.
Gale will return to contention for selection ahead of this Thursday’s game with Hull FC, but he will no longer be the captain – leaving coach Richard Agar with a fascinating decision to make as he ponders Gale’s successor.
Luckily for Agar, he has no shortage of potential skippers.
One of the most experienced players in the Leeds squad, Richie Myler has established himself as a vital component of Agar’s side on a weekly basis.
For a player who was struggling to command a regular place in the team as recently as 18 months ago, Myler is now undisputedly Leeds’ first-choice at fullback, and the Rhinos are a much better side when he plays.
As a senior figure within the group, Myler would no doubt be a popular choice among the players if he was handed the armband.
Hooker Kruise Leeming continues to get better and better in 2021 – and could that form lead to him being named the new captain at Emerald Headingley? There are certainly worse contenders, you feel.
Leeming’s form this season has been of the highest quality, and there is growing suggestion he may be forcing his way into the thinking of Shaun Wane if the World Cup goes ahead as planned later this year.
Still only 25, Leeming could ideally wear the armband for years to come, and his position in the middle of the park also seemingly makes him an excellent candidate.
It would be a bold decision, but there is no doubting that rewarding a young player with the captain’s armband has worked for Leeds in the past.
Giving a local lad the captaincy could be a masterstroke from Agar, and the prospect of it taking Harry Newman’s game to the next level is a scary thought, given how well he has already done in his short professional career.
The argument against Newman succeeding Gale would potentially revolve around the fact he has just returned from a serious injury lay-off, and Agar may not want to overwhelm Newman so soon into his return.
However, Leeds fans would almost certainly be delighted at the thought of one of their own leading the team around.
The standout candidate is arguably Leeds’ standout player of 2021 so far.
Matt Prior’s form has been excellent this season, and it was a no-brainer when the Rhinos opted to reward him with a new two-year contract extension.
Leeds may be wary of a senior overseas player taking the armband given the experience with Trent Merrin in the past, but it is clear Prior is not going anywhere any time soon. His leadership skills, experience and form all seems to combine to make him the perfect option.