The North Queensland Cowboys have been linked with Leeds Rhinos' hooker Kruise Leeming in an immediate switch from the Super League.
Leeming is a South African-born hooker that grew up in the streets of Halifax, and now entering his 11th season in the English competition, the 27-year-old has decided he wants out.
A product of the Huddersfield Giants' academy, the hooker played 122 Super League games across seven seasons at the club as he transitioned into a starting rake, even earning a cap for the England Knights in the process, a side created for England's emerging talent.
A move to the Leeds Rhinos came with good fortunate as Leeming lifted the Challenge Cup trophy alongside former NRL stars Konrad Hurrell, Adam Cuthbertson, Rhyse Martin, Matt Prior and more, beating Salford 17-16 on the day.
Now a senior player at the Rhinos, Leeming captained Leeds last season, however lost the role this year after their head coach Rohan Smith decided the club wouldn't have a skipper in 2023.
LeedsLive are reporting that Leeming has been granted permission to seek a new deal elsewhere, despite being contracted for 2024, and an understanding that the No. 9 can walk effective immediately if he can get a deal done.
While nothing has been confirmed by either club or Leeming himself, journalist Steve Mascord believes he's heading to the North Queensland Cowboys.
"Kruise Leeming linked to the Cowboys - immediately," Mascord tweeted on Friday morning.
The hooker was pulled from the line-up against Castleford despite being fit to play, further throwing fuel on the fire.
The Cowboys already have a hooker duo in Reece Robson and Jake Granville, although with the latter freshly turning 34, his days in the NRL are dwindling, potentially opening the door for Leeming to join the side.
🔵🏆 Fast hands from Leeds gives them a try via captain Kruise Leeming before the half-time hooter...@Six_Again | #GF25 pic.twitter.com/lcaTmNdMSa
— The Sportsman (@TheSportsman) September 24, 2022
The Rhinos' head coach Rohan Smith confirmed the news following the loss to Castleford.
“He (Kruise Leeming) has requested a release and he has been given the opportunity to seek one," Smith said post-match.
“I'm not exactly sure of the timing but I found out earlier this week. I'm not sure when people were made aware but it hasn't been discussed as a group.
“I'll just go to players who are Leeds Rhinos.”
It's believed that Leeming has desires to play in the NRL, with his management reportedly alerting clubs down under in the last 24 hours of his immediate availability. It's a huge blow for Leeds, losing one of the top hookers in the competition mere weeks into a new season.