Morley pleased with rising stars despite late loss

Leeds Rhinos Under 19 coach Adrian Morley said he was pleased with his young players despite the late loss at Doncaster after they held their experience against experienced opposition.
The Rhinos led 30-12 at half time before Doncaster fought back to level the game at 30-30. Leeds then edged in front again before a try ten minutes from time and a drop goal from Doncaster sealed the 35-34 win.
Morley commented, “I was really pleased with our performance. At the end of the day, it was a loss but I thought our young lads gave a good account of themselves. They were up against some very experienced players, in particular Jamie Thackray and Feka Paleaaesina, and that was probably the difference in the end. The guys were pretty dejected afterwards which speaks volumes about how committed they are, even for a pre-season game, but I was pleased with how they performed. We had a number of first team lads in there too who had been involved on Friday at Featherstone so it was a good test for us.”
In terms of individual performances, Morley thought that new signing Dan Waite-Pullan, who joined from Bradford Bulls recently, was worthy of mention, he added, “I thought Dan had a strong game. He has settled in very well and quickly adapted to our play. He is a Leeds lad who has supported the club all his life. Considering he has not had much time with us to learn our systems, it was very good to see how he went against Doncaster. I expect big things from Dan this season.”
The Under 19s travel to Hull this Saturday for their final pre-season game as they take on the City of Hull Academy at Bishop Burton College, kick off 2.30pm. The Under 19s kick off their season at the Totally Wicked Stadium on Thursday 9th February as the curtain raiser to the main Betfred Super League clash between Leeds and St Helens. Looking ahead to Saturday’s game Morley said, “This will be our final trial game before the season starts and everyone will get the chance to show they are ready. The aim on Saturday will be to start with our strongest team and then rotate things around to have a look at all the squad. Unfortunately we lost Reece Chapman-Smith yesterday with a shoulder injury. It was tough for Reece as he has just come back from a similar injury but fingers crossed it is not as bad as we first feared. Whilst pre-season games are great look at your team in action, there is always that risk that players can get injured but hopefully Reece will not be out for too long.”