11 young players have earned the chance to follow in the footsteps of Great Britain stars Danny McGuire & Rob Burrow after being awarded professional contracts with Leeds.
Eleven young Rugby League players have earned the chance to follow in the footsteps of the likes of Great Britain stars Kevin Sinfield, Danny McGuire and Rob Burrow after being awarded professional contracts with Leeds Rhinos. The players, aged between 16 and 18, will now join the clubs academy structure with the dream of making the Rhinos Super League squad. Over half of the Rhinos first team squad this season are products of the club's Academy structure with Sinfield, McGuire and Burrow also joined by Chev Walker, Ryan Bailey and Matt Diskin in having gone on and played for Great Britain through their efforts at the Rhinos. Five of the new recruits are players who have been given a second chance of a professional career at rugby having initially missed out on a contract. Ryan Hall, Joe Howey, Jodie Broughton, Ben Jones-Bishop and Simon Brown all came to the attention of the Rhinos earlier in their career but missed out on selection. However, after returning to amateur Rugby League in the city they have now impressed and earned a contract. Head of Youth Player Performance John Bastian commented, "All eleven players are great additions to our set up both in terms of their attitude on and off the pitch. I am particularly pleased to have signed the five lads from amateur Rugby League in Leeds. It is important that young players continue to develop and play the game even if they do not get signed up when they are at school. The amateur club's in Leeds to a fantastic job in developing young talented and hopefully these signings recognises this great work and helps them retain and develop players in the future." David Leeke, Paul McShane, Mathew Fox, Chris Clarkson, John Elkington and Danny Lawton, all 16 years old, have signed after playing under Leeds legend Barrie McDermott in the club's Foundation Academy this season. Whilst Ben Jones-Bishop and Jodie Broughton, both 18, where signed from the successful Queens ARLFC National Cup winning U18 team. Ryan Hall, 17, joins after being spotted playing open age rugby for Oulton Raiders and Joe Howey and Simon Brown signed after impressing during successful trials with the club's Junior Academy.