Rhinos continue youth development programme

Engage Super League Champions Leeds Rhinos are to continue their policy of developing the finest young talent in the game by allowing two young stars to go on season long loan deals to aid their progression.

21-year-old full back Ben Jones-Bishop will join engage Super League rivals Harlequins RL whilst 20-year-old forward Dane Manning will move to Featherstone Rovers for the 2010 season.

The Rhinos have also confirmed that new recruits Kyle Amor and Michael Coady will be dual registered with the Rhinos and Whitehaven and Featherstone respectively.

Leeds have also confirmed that back rower Simon Worrall, who was 18th man for the Grand Final at Old Trafford, has agreed a new one year deal with the club but will spend next season on loan at French club Toulouse.

Commenting on the arrangements Chief Executive Gary Hetherington said, “Both Ben and Dane are players who have shown that they have the attributes to succeed at the highest level, the challenge is now to do that on a consistent basis in the first team environment.

“We know Brian McDermott and Daryl Powell very well and we know that both players will be good hands at their new clubs for next season.

“In the case of Michael and Kyle, they will begin pre-season with the Rhinos with the aim of pushing their claims for a spot in the first team. However, under new rules brought in by the RFL we can now dual register players with another club, which is our intention with Michael and Kyle so that they can continue to develop and be ready to be called upon should they be required by Brian McClennan and his coaching staff.

“In the case of Simon Worrall, he was keen to keep an association with the club whilst challenging himself in a new environment. He will play with Toulouse next season and hopes to put himself in contention for a return to the club in the future.

“The Reserve Academy next season is an Under 20 competition which means that you can not stockpile players just in case they are required for the first team. That has meant a number of players moving on at the end of the season for new challenges elsewhere such as Michael Ratu and Ashley Gibson however we are confident that the squad we have assembled will be even stronger than the one that won their third title in a row at Old Trafford.

“Jay Pitts is effectively a new signing for us having only made one appearance since signing from Wakefield whilst players like Luke Ambler, Kallum Watkins and Paul McShane now have another years experience under their belt.

“We have recruited Brett Delaney to replace Lee Smith and of course we look forward to finally welcoming New Zealand World Cup winner Greg Eastwood to the club. These are exciting times and we can look forward to the future with great anticipation starting with our third World Club Challenge in a row against Melbourne at Elland Road in February,” added Hetherington.

Commenting on the loan arrangement Featherstone Rovers Head Coach Daryl Powell said, “We are delighted to have the services of two high quality young players for next season. They are both highly thought of at Leeds and as such will add to the depth and quality of talent at Featherstone next year.

“We are keen to help Michael and Dane develop their games and reap the rewards as a club with their performances. Michael will provide a real punch in our backline and is athletic and strong. Dane is full of energy and commitment, which are both very good components in a Rugby League backrower. I am sure Featherstone supporters will enjoy their impact at the club.”