Rhinos sign up next generation of Academy stars
Leeds Rhinos Academy have announced the class of 2018 with ten players earning their first professional contract with the Super League champions having emerged from the club’s scholarship team to join Rob Burrow’s Under 19 squad from next season.
Twin brothers Oli and Joe Burton, who attend St Wilfred’s School, are two of five Kippax players who join the Rhinos. Hooker Oli scored two tries in six appearances this season for the Under 16s whilst centre Joe enjoyed an outstanding final season in the Scholarship scoring seven tries in five games including four tries in the 50-4 win over traditional rivals St Helens.
The other three Kippax players all attend Brigshaw School. Goal kicking cente TJ Barton scored 30 points this season whilst strong running, hard hitting prop Olly Adamson has also impressed this campaign. Finally, stand off Harry Anderson, who is the son of former Castleford player Grant Anderson, has an array of skills with ball in hand and his kicking game.
Traditional Leeds amateur powerhouse East Leeds, who produced Rhinos legend Danny McGuire, have produced two more young players. Nidderdale High pupil Jack Mallinson has scored four tries in four appearances this season whilst winger Liam Tindall, who attends Temple Moor, has earned his deal after becoming a regular try scorer at both Under 15 and Under 16 level.
Two players have signed from Drighlington and both attend Morley Academy. Back row Lewis Delaney has scored four tries in five appearances this season for the Rhinos. Full back Iwan Stephens is the son of former Wales Rugby Union international Colin Stephens, the ex-Leeds Tykes goal kicker. Iwan finished this season as the Under 16s top points scorer despite missing the end of the campaign through injury.
Finally, prop Rian Rowley joins the club from St John Fisher in Harrogate.
Here Under-16s coach, Mark Butterill, gives us an insight to the new recruits for the Rhinos.
Iwan Stephens: Full back (Drighlington and Morley Academy).
Iwan has great agility and pace off the mark he can step off both feet and move in and away from players at high speed. A threat from anywhere on the field with ball in hand. A real exciting talent. He was the joint top try scorer this year with seven tries in five games.
Liam Tindall: Wing (East Leeds and Temple Moor).
Liam has great dynamic pace and aggression everything he does. He is high energy be it in the gym or out on the field in games and in training sessions. His high-speed running and ability to break tackles was the reason behind him being the top meter maker throughout his time in the Scholarship.
Joe Burton: Centre (Kippax and St Wilfred’s).
Joe is a really quick and strong centre. He makes the right decision with ball in hand his strength is his ability to catch a ball early and bounce out and away from defenders, very much in the style of Rhinos captain Kallum Watkins. His catch and pass and his fix and drag options in decision making is of a high standard for someone so young Joint top try scorer this year with seven tries in five games.
TJ Barton: Centre (Kippax and Brigshaw).
TJ’s skill level is of a very high standard. His catch and pass are first class his ability to attract defenders and time his pass is of a very high standard. Defensively tough with a good hit and drive technique.
Jack Mallinson: Scrum Half (East Leeds).
Jack is an exciting talent. He has a strong skill set and good pace. His ability to play off the cuff football make him a real attacking threat. He’s developing nicely and Im excited about his future.
Harry Anderson: Standoff (Kippax and Brigshaw)
Harry is a high highly skilled player with some real good attributes with the ball in hand. He’s is highly competitive and wants to win at everything he does. He is the son of ex-Castleford player Grant Anderson. Harry has a good kicking game and a strong skill set and has all the attributes to make a career in the game.
Oli Adamson: Prop Forward. (Kippax and Brigshaw):
Oli is a strong hard carrying front rower. His skill level for someone in his position is very good and he hits hard in the tackle. His energy and work rate has been first class throughout his time with us.
Oli Burton: Hooker (Kippax and St Wilfreds):
Oli is an exciting talent at hooker and alongside Cory Johnson coming through it makes for exciting times in the hooking department. His skill level and ability to read a game from his position defy his age.
Lewis Delaney: Backrow (Drighlington and Morley Academy):
A big strong carrying backrower with a good skill set and good footwork. Lewis has been a real damaging attacking threat during his time with the scholarship. Lewis has all the physical attributes to move onto the next level if he continues to work hard.
Rian Rowley: Prop Forward (Stanningley and St John Fisher):
A late comer to our system having only had a year in our programme but during this time he’s has been a standout. Started his rugby league pathway at North Leeds Leopards before joining Stanningley. Pace, size and aggression in his game make him a damaging front rower and I’m excited to see how he develops.