RHINOS SIGN KIWI TEST STAR

Leeds Rhinos have announced that they have signed New Zealand international Greg Eastwood, 21, from NRL side Brisbane Broncos for the 2009 season on a three year contract.

Leeds Rhinos have announced that they have signed New Zealand international Greg Eastwood, 21, from NRL side Brisbane Broncos for the 2009 season on a three year contract. Eastwood, who was given his debut for New Zealand by now Rhinos boss Brian McClennan, has been an integral part of the Broncos squad this season, playing in all but one game for Wayne Bennett’s side. He scored the match winning try in his side’s extra time win over Gold Coast Titans last Friday and will be part of the New Zealand squad for the forthcoming World Cup in Australia. Eastwood made his debut in the NRL back in 2005 and has gone on to make 62 appearances for the Broncos, scoring 15 tries. However, 2008 has been his best year to date with four tries in 22 games so far this term. He was born in Auckland but his father is originally from Huddersfield and he featured in the first two Tests against Great Britain in the 2007 Gillette Fusion Test series as well as being a try scorer for the New Zealand All Golds against the Northern Union. Commenting on his signing McClennan said, "I have followed Greg’s progress for a few years having watched him come through the ranks with the Junior Kiwis and then develop through the Broncos system. I gave him his debut in 2006 for New Zealand in the ANZAC test and he was very good on that day. He is still only 21 so that means that we are getting a player who has huge potential and is at the early stage of his career. His style will suit the Rhinos, he is a quiet and humble lad who will fit in well with our players. He has great versatility having played on the wing, centre, stand off and second row for the Broncos and has even filled in at dummy half, despite being 105kg, at times this season. He is very skilful and I am excited about what he will bring to the Rhinos. People are going to enjoy watching Greg Eastwood over the next couple of years and I am hopeful that this initial three year contract will just be the start of a long career here at Headingley Carnegie for Greg," added McClennan. Eastwood will join the Rhinos after the World Cup in Australia but he is already looking forward to starting his new life in Yorkshire. He commented, "I am really excited about joining Leeds Rhinos and coming to England. I am looking forward to linking up again with Brian McClennan after he gave me my debut for the Kiwis. We watch the games from Super League on TV here and the Rhinos play a really good style of rugby which I think will suit my own game." Eastwood was McClennan’s number one target when the Rhinos began preparations for next season and his capture is the culmination of negotiations between the reigning engage Super League champions and the Brisbane Broncos. Chief Executive Gary Hetherington added, "This is a terrific signing for us. We have been determined to replace Gareth Ellis with a player of similar standing and to be signing a 21 year old international with so much ability and versatility is very pleasing. We have a good relationship with the Brisbane Broncos and I would like to thank them for their co-operation and professionalism throughout our negotiations."