Five Leeds Rhinos strikers are set to sign to strengthen the 2025 pack

Leeds Rhinos have had an up and down 2024 season so far. They proved themselves capable of competing with the Super League’s top teams, defeating Catalans Dragons. However, they have also been lacking at times, such as during their spectacular collapse against Huddersfield Giants.

One of the major criticisms of Rohan Smith is that they lack power through the middle. With forwards James Bentley and Tom Holroyd sidelined for extended periods, the Rhinos often lack punch in the forwards.

Leeds Rhinos could also face a battle to keep hold of Tom Holroyd, with reports emerging that the South Sydney Rabbitohs are lining up the prop as a replacement for Tom Burgess, the England international who is heading to Huddersfield Giants for 2025.

The recruitment window is now open after the May 1 deadline and Serious About Rugby League has identified five players Leeds Rhinos could look to bring in for 2025 to address the issue.

Which strikers should Leeds Rhinos sign for 2025?

Tom Amone

Leeds Rhinos could line up Tom Amone

Credit: Imago Images

Tom Amone is a man in demand, with several reports linking the Leigh Leopards man with a move to the NRL in the off-season. Amone has been a critical part of the Leopards’ success in recent years. At times this season he has almost single-handedly carried the pack when he has played, with the prop missing some games due to injury.

However, if a move to the South Sydney Rabbitohs does not materialise, Headingley could be the perfect destination for Amone. Leeds Rhinos need his size and strength and he will become the cornerstone of their pack. A forward line of Amone, Oledzki, Holroyd, Sangare and Lisone has variety and could set Leeds up for success in 2025.

Romain Navarrete

Credit: Imago Images

There is a growing French connection at Headingley. Mikael Goudemand and Justin Sangare are now regulars in the starting lineup. Romain Navarrete could be the next Frenchman to walk through the door at Headingley.

Navarrette has played 10 times for the Catalans Dragons this year. He formed an important part of their pack. He also played in England during his two-year spell with Wigan Warriors. He played in Wigan’s 2018 grand final win against Warrington. He is very experienced and is a French international.

Navarrete’s contract is set to expire at the end of the season. He could be a viable option for the Rhinos to bolster their front row.

Thomas Michael

Credit: Imago Images

6ft 4in fullback Thomas Mikaele is no stranger to the Super League. He enjoyed two spells at Warrington in the 2022 and 2023 seasons. Mikaele was due to return to Wolves in 2024. But the proposed move fell through and he signed for the North Queensland Cowboys.

Mikaele’s contract with the Cowboys is set to expire at the end of the current season. This means it is once again available for a move. He made just two appearances for the Cowboys this season. However, they have come in the Cowboys’ most recent two games. He made six tackle breaks in just under 40 minutes of action and made 5 offloads in that time.

Should he be out of contract at the end of the season, he is exactly the kind of striker the Rhinos lack.

Martin Taupau

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Martin Taupau’s transfer to Leeds is one of Rugby League’s longest-running “will they, won’t they” stories. Taupau was first linked with Leeds in 2015 after Leeds Rhinos played New Zealand in a friendly at Headingley. The rumors resurfaced in 2018, 2022 and 2023 when Taupau’s contract expired. However, Taupau always secured another deal with the NRL. This killed any chance of moving to the UK.

Now, Taupau’s Brisbane Broncos contract is set to expire at the Brisbane Broncos. It could be time for this long distance court to come to fruition. Taupau, nicknamed Marty Kapow, is sure to bring explosive power to the Leeds pack. He played for Samoa in the run to the most recent Rugby League World Cup final. Taupau played at the highest level.

At 34, this may be his last chance to make the move to Super League. The time may finally be right for Taupau to move to Headingley.

Mike Cooper

Mike Cooper is a possible target for Leeds Rhinos

Credit: Imago Images

The current Leeds pack arguably lacks a true battle-hardened pack leader. Mikolai Oledzki is a quality player, but he is still only 25 years old. Justin Sangare and Tom Holroyd are both early in their careers. Sam Lisone is very much an impact player.

Mike Cooper would bring the experience that the Leeds pack lacks. Cooper is an England international and has had a long career, notably with Wigan Warriors and Warrington Wolves, as well as a spell in the NRL.

At 35, his age may count against him. However, his knowledge could help add steel to a Leeds pack that lacks edge. Leeds would only need a short spell from Cooper. He could help turn a pack that has a lot of promise into a dominant force in Super League.

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