Leeds Rhinos have officially announced the signing of French international forward Mickael Goudemand on a two-year contract, starting from the 2024 season. The 27-year-old rugby league player, who currently represents Catalans Dragons, brings with him a wealth of experience and talent to strengthen the Rhinos’ squad.

Goudemand, who has earned twelve caps for the French national team, made a remarkable impact in his early career. In only his sixth game for Catalans, he emerged victorious as they clinched the Challenge Cup at Wembley in 2018. Before joining the Dragons, he showcased his skills in 65 appearances for his hometown club Avignon in the French Elite Championship between 2010 and 2016.

The talented forward took a brief detour to Dewsbury in 2017, where he played eight games to further refine his abilities. Following his stint at Dewsbury, Goudemand displayed great belief in his abilities by moving to Perpignan and joining the Dragons’ reserve team, St Estève XIII Catalan. With them, he contributed to their success in winning the Coupe de France.

It was during this time that Goudemand caught the attention of Catalans’ Head Coach, Steve McNamara. He made a memorable debut for the Dragons, scoring two tries against Whitehaven in the Challenge Cup in May 2018. In a surprising turn of events, Goudemand was subsequently called up to the Wembley side, just 24 hours prior to the Challenge Cup Final against Warrington, after Louis Anderson was ruled out due to a late fitness test. Astonishingly, Goudemand had only signed his first full-time contract with the Dragons at the conclusion of the 2018 season, having already made history with the club at Wembley.

Hailing from Vaucluse, Goudemand has since accumulated nearly 100 appearances for Catalans, showcasing his commitment and talent on the field. With his move to Leeds Rhinos at the end of the ongoing campaign, he will join forces with fellow international teammate Justin Sangare at Headingley. Moreover, he will reunite with Richard Hunwicks, the Rhinos Performance Director, who previously worked with Catalans from 2017 to 2021.

Expressing his enthusiasm about the signing, Head Coach Rohan Smith emphasised Goudemand’s impressive qualities both as an athlete and an individual. He praised the forward’s physicality, work ethic, and experience, all of which will complement the Rhinos’ young forward pack. Smith also highlighted Goudemand’s fluency in English and his ability to contribute positively to the team dynamics, on and off the field. The Head Coach further acknowledged Goudemand’s ambition and self-belief, evident in his consistent high-level performances for Catalans and France, and expressed his anticipation of having Goudemand on board for the 2024 season.

Leeds Rhinos’ acquisition of Mickael Goudemand is seen as a significant move to bolster the team’s roster, adding depth and skill to their lineup. As the 2024 season approaches, fans eagerly anticipate the impact that Goudemand will make on the field, as he joins the ranks of the Rhinos and contributes to their pursuit of success in the rugby league arena.