LEEDS coach Brian McDermott has admitted he knows his Challenge Cup final starting line-up.
But he’s made it clear they are still places up for grabs on the substitutes’ bench.
Like his Castleford counterpart Daryl Powell, McDermott will take the opportunity to rest several of his regulars this weekend with one eye on the Wembley showdown with the Tigers on Saturday week.
Players like former England captain Jamie Peacock will be wrapped in cotton wool when the Rhinos take on relegated London Broncos at The Hive on Sunday as McDermott looks to kick-off the final with the team that started the semi-final against Warrington.
“I’m reasonably close to deciding my team,” said McDermott. “I don’t think I’d be surprising anybody if I was to name my starting 13 now. I think everyone can work that one out.
“But we’re not pulling the drawbridge up on the bench. There’s a couple of bench spots up for grabs this weekend.”
LONDON Broncos have signed French international half-back William Barthau from Catalan Dragons.
Barthau, 24, who won his eighth cap for his country in the 2013 World Cup quarter-final against England, has signed a two-year contract with the Broncos, who will be in the Kingstone Press Championship next season.
“I’m pleased we’ve secured William as he will fit into one of our key positions on the field,” said London coach Joey Grima.
“He was impressive in the Dragons’ win over the Broncos in round nine and led them around the field.
“He should link up well with both Ray Nasso and Ben Farrar who he knows from their time in France.”
BRADFORD’S New Zealand-born centre Adam Henry is to stay on with the relegated Super League club.
The 23-year-old former Sydney Roosters player, who has made 23 appearances in his first season in England, has signed a new 12- month deal and becomes the 11th confirmed member of coach James Lowes’ squad for their 2015 Championship campaign.
“I am really pleased to be staying because I love it here,” said Henry. “The club wanted me to stay and the main thing for me was Jimmy (Lowes).
“He has put a lot of faith in me and pretty much played me every week since taking over as coach. That was the main reason why I chose to stay, as he is backing me all the way.
JAMES DONALDSON has become the latest player from relegated Bradford to secure his Super League future by signing a two-year deal with Hull KR.
The 22-year-old second rower will link up with the Robins in November and becomes their fourth new recruit for 2015 following the addition of Wigan centre Darrell Goulding and overseas duo Ken Sio and Josh Mantellato.
Rovers coach Chris Chester said: “James is exactly the sort of player that we want to bring to the club in that he is young, hungry and works very hard at his game.
“He’s got a good engine on him, he plays big minutes and he doesn’t miss many tackles so he’ll be a great fit for us.”
HULL FC forward Dean Hadley has signed a new contract that will keep him at the KC Stadium until the end of 2016.
The 22-year-old Hull-born back rower, who made his debut against Catalan Dragons last season, has established himself in Lee Radford’s side this year, appearing in 13 of their last 19 matches.
“What Dean brings to training and what he has brought this year on the field has been immense,” Radford said.
“And he has taken huge strides in his development, which is why we were keen to offer him this extension.”