Young stars commit their future to Leeds Rhinos
Rising Academy stars Owen Trout, 18, and Corey Johnson, 17, have agreed new long term contracts with Leeds Rhinos after impressing in Rob Burrow’s Under 19s side this season.
The Rhinos U19s are battling with St Helens and Wigan Warriors at the top of the Academy table despite losing the likes of Jack Walker, Mikolaj Oledzki and Cameron Smith to the first team squad this season.
Now England Academy players Johnson and Trout will be hoping to follow in their footsteps after agreeing news deals with the club. Johnson is only in his first year in the Academy having signed for the club twelve months ago from Castleford Lock Lane. He has only missed one game all season after converting from a half back to hooker, running in 12 tries in eighteen appearances so far. He has agreed a new four year deal that will keep him at Emerald Headingley until at least the end of the 2022 season.
Commenting on the new deal, Johnson said, “I am really pleased to have agreed my new contract. It gives me security that I can continue to work hard to improve my game without worrying about being out of contract and it is a boost to my confidence that the club have made that commitment to me.
“I didn’t expect to get so much gametime in my first season but when our hooker and captain Harvey Whiteley was injured it gave me an opportunity to prove myself. Our coaches, Rob Burrow and Jonny Wainhouse, have helped me massively. They analyse my games to help me to see where I need to improve and give me the tools to do that for myself.“I will be concentrating on developing my game in the years ahead and knowing that I have that four-year deal means that I do not have to rush myself, panic and stress about whether I will get another contract in the short term. I have time to develop and improve myself,” added Johnson.
Second row Owen Trout is in his second year in the Rhinos Academy. He has signed a new three-year deal that will keep him at Emerald Headingley until at least the end of the 2021 season. Trout has scored an impressive ten tries in 17 appearances for the Under 19s so far this season and earned a call up to train with the first team squad earlier this year as well as playing in the Boxing Day game at Wakefield.
He commented, “It is a dream come true to sign a long term deal with the Rhinos. It is an opportunity I have been working towards since I was a little kid. I knew I still had another year to prove myself but it nice to have all the hard work you have do recognised when you get the chance to sign a year early.
“I have been around the first team for the odd training session which was a chance to get to know the senior players. Hopefully I can kick on when I start training full time with the first team for the start of pre-season. Obviously, that will be another level to the Academy but I am looking forward to the challenge.
“Having Rob Burrow now working with the first team will help bridge that gap between the Academy and first team for us. I will still be eligible for the Under 19s next season and Rob will know where I am in the pecking order at the club so I can develop in the best possible way.
“Getting the new contract has been a big boost for my confidence as a player. Not everyone has the chance to say they do their dream job for living but I am fortunate enough to be able to say that now. I am looking forward to working under Kevin Sinfield and James Lowes. They have both achieved everything there is to win in the game and Kevin especially came through the Academy system here at Leeds so we know he wants our home grown players to succeed if they work hard and are good enough.”