Loan Watch: Three young Rhinos make Championship debuts
Last weekend saw four of Leeds’ on loan and dual registration players gain valuable experience in the Betfred Championship with York City Knights and Batley Bulldogs, despite both sides losing to promotion favourites Toulouse Olympique and London Broncos.
A week before they’re set to take on Featherstone Rovers in the AB Sundecks 1895 Cup Final at Wembley, James Ford’s York City Knights were well beaten 50-20 by London Broncos at Ealing Trailfinders Stadium. Corey Johnson was named in the matchday squad and made his debut in the defeat after joining the club on a season long loan. The Rhinos academy hooker, who announced his return to the Rhinos last week, is no stranger to the Championship, having spent time at Featherstone Rovers in 2018, and made a big impression to earn himself a nomination for man of the match.
Arriving on the field for Will Jubb after twenty minutes with the Knights 18 points down, Johnson played a role in Kieron Dixon’s first try of the game to close to score to 18-10, although a dominant second half by the home side saw them take the two league points.
In Batley Bulldogs’ clash with the Championship leaders Toulouse, three of Leeds’ youngest loan players featured for Craig Lingard. 17-year-old centre Levi Edwards and Under-19s captain Oli Field both made their debuts for the club after joining on loan last week, and hooker Oli Burton made his home debut, having featured in the Bulldogs’ 30-16 defeat to Bradford Bulls last week.
Burton and Field have both featured heavily for Chev Walker’s Under-19s since they returned to action in May, while Edwards has been involved with Richard Agar’s side, after being brought up with Morgan Gannon last season. Both Field and Edwards were involved from kick off, while Burton tried to make an impact off the bench, but the Championship leaders proved too much for the Bulldogs, although the scoreline was only four points at the break.
Corey Hall and Muizz Mustapha also remain on loan with York and Hull KR but neither player was in action this week. Hall has played twice for Richard Agar in 2021 but at 18-years-old, he will get the chance to continue his development under Ford at the Knights. Prop Mustapha, who has on a season long loan with Rovers, has featured for Tony Smith’s side five times, including the win over Leeds in round four, but wasn’t in action last week as the Robins’ match with Warrington was postponed due to a number of Covid cases in the Wolves camp.