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Briscoe sidelined for three months

Leeds' England international Tom Briscoe will be sidelined for around three months with a shoulder injury, coach Brian McDermott has confirmed.

The 25-year-old former Hull winger, who missed just two matches in his first season with the Rhinos in 2014, will undergo surgery on Saturday after scans revealed the full extent of an injury he has been carrying for a few weeks.

Handley, 19, made only his second Super League appearance and scored his first try in Leeds' 26-14 win over Wigan last Friday.

He keeps his spot for the trip to Perpignan to face Catalans Dragons on Saturday, while Liam Sutcliffe will continue to deputise for skipper Kevin Sinfield, who is still recovering from a hamstring injury.

There's a fair bit of damage in there. He's been good for us so we'll miss him but it gives an opportunity for Ash Handley to get some more game time.

– Brian McDermott

McDermott defends decision to pick Hardaker

Brian McDermott has said the Leeds Rhinos will make an announcement about Zak Hardaker as an investigation into an assault he committed on a student in February continues.

Hardaker keeps his place for the trip to Perpignan to face Catalans Dragons on Saturday and McDermott has also defender his right to pick the 23-year-old.

Zak gets paid to do a job. I know there is a sentiment from people out there who say 'why is he still playing?' but to stand Zak down doesn't do him any good.

If a bricklayer makes an error at work, you don't give him time off. Why would we give Zak Hardaker the time off to live a decent lifestyle where he can do what he wants?

– Brian McDermott

Hardaker was dropped when the incident came to light earlier this month but recalled for the Wigan game after he was released by police without charge, paid compensation and issued an apology to his victim.

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McDermott: We can cope without Sinfield

Leeds coach Brian McDermott is confident his side can overcome the loss of skipper Kevin Sinfield for Friday's Super League clash with Wigan at Headingley.

Kevin Sinfield is out with a hamstring problem Credit: Press Association

The former England skipper recently climbed up to fourth place in rugby league's all-time scoring list with 3,997 points and is second only to Paul Wellens (St Helens) with the most number of Super League appearances on 433.

Danny McGuire will skipper the Rhinos in Sinfield's absence and Liam Sutcliffe will take on the playmaking role as they look to bounce back from their first defeat of the season at Warrington last Friday.

Kev's got some hamstring/neurol issue so he's stood down for a week to let that recover.

He's a fantastic player for us and very influential so we will miss him but what we've got out there is good enough and Liam Sutcliffe certainly shows a lot of promise and has delivered in the past.

– Brian McDermott

McDermott will also give a second appearance to prop Andy Yates after ruling Kylie Leuluai out with bicep and rib injuries and will make a late decision on whether to recall full-back Zak Hardaker after he was left out a week ago.

McDermott: Hardaker affair won't be swept under the carpet

Leeds coach Brian McDermott insists the Rhinos will not sweep the Zak Hardaker affair "under the carpet".

Hardaker was involved in an assault in Leeds which was resolved by police Credit: Press Association

Hardaker and Leeds team-mate Elliot Minchella were on Monday released without charge after helping police with their investigation into an assault on a student in Leeds on February 3.

It emerged that the players were freed after agreeing to pay £200 compensation and issuing a written apology under a "community resolution".

However, McDermott told a media briefing at Headingley that the club were continuing with their own investigation and that they are taking the matter very seriously.

We're not trying to hide anything.

As soon as we were made aware of the pictures that were on the Yorkshire Evening Post website, we actually rang the police themselves. We were keen to make sure that he helped the police in everything they needed to do. He did that and now we conduct our own investigation.

We're not trying to get this done and dusted and close the door. What's happened is a big thing, a big thing for us and a big thing for the kid who was on the other end of it.

We made that phone call straight away and then phoned Zak. We don't view this as a bit of a blip, it's a big thing for us.

– Brian McDermott

Hardaker and Minchella released without charge

Zak Hardaker could be back playing for Leeds on Friday after the Rhinos revealed he has been released without charge by police.

The 23-year-old full-back was dropped by his club for last Thursday's Super League game at Warrington after it emerged that, along with team-mate Elliot Minchella, he was wanted in questioning over an alleged assault.

Leeds Rhinos can confirm that Zak Hardaker and Elliot Minchella have both fully co-operated with the police investigation into an incident in Leeds in February this year. Both players have been released without charge and the investigation is now concluded. The Rhinos will continue their internal investigation surrounding the incident however both players will be available for selection this week.

– Leeds Rhinos

West Yorkshire Police announced last week they were looking for two men in connection with the assault of a 22-year-old man in student flats in Leeds on February 3.

Police say the victim suffered two black eyes and bruising to his ears and neck.

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Rhinos star dropped amid police investigation

England international Zak Hardaker has been dropped by Leeds after it emerged that he is at the centre of a police investigation.

England international Zak Hardaker has been dropped by Leeds after it emerged that he is at the centre of a police investigation. Credit: Press Association

The 23-year-old Leeds full-back and his Rhinos team-mate Elliot Minchella are expected to be interviewed by police in the next few days over the alleged assault of a 22-year-old man in student flats in Leeds.

In a statement Leeds said: "The club have been made aware of an incident in which it is alleged that Leeds Rhinos players Zak Hardaker and Elliot Minchella were involved.

"Both the club and the individuals concerned are co-operating fully with the police investigation.

"Until such time as that investigation is concluded neither the club nor the players involved are able to make any further comment."

West Yorkshire police released images of two men earlier this week in connection to a break-in and assault at premises on Burley Road in Leeds on February 3 but since removed them after receiving fresh information.

A police spokesman said: "We can confirm that we will be speaking to two men in connection with the incident."

Police say the victim suffered two black eyes and bruising to his ears and neck.

In Hardaker's absence, Leeds coach Brian McDermott gave a full debut to teenager Ashton Golding at full-back for the match against the Wolves.

Golding, who was given a new four-year contract in December that ties him to the club until the end of the 2018 season, made his Super League debut last season at London Broncos.

Former Rhinos captain Mick Clark dies aged 78

Leeds Rhinos have announced the death of their former captain and Great Britain forward Mick Clark, who lost his battle with Parkinson's Disease on Friday at the age of 78.

Leeds captain Mick Clark is chaired by his teammates as his holds aloft the Challenge Cup in 1968. Credit: Press Association

Clark made just over 200 appearances for Leeds from 1963 to 1969 and was a member of their Challenge Cup-winning team in the famous "Watersplash" final at Wembley in 1968.

He also played for Dewsbury, Huddersfield and Salford and ended his career with a spell as player-coach at Keighley.

A Leeds spokesman said: "On behalf of everyone connected with the club we would like to send our deepest sympathies to his son and two daughters and his grandchildren at this sad time."

Rugby Football League chief executive Nigel Wood said: "It is with sadness that we have heard of Mick Clark's passing and our thoughts are with his family at this sad time.

"Few players get the opportunity to represent their country, fewer still to play for the national team in a World Cup but Mick Clark did that in 1968, which says much about the prodigious talent he was."

The Rhinos team will wear black armbands for their next match against Warrington next Friday.

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