Rhinos welcome 19 new players to 2022 Scholarship Programme

Leeds Rhinos have unveiled a 34-player scholarship squad for the 2022 season, including 15 Under-16s and 19 new Under-15s players.

At the Scholarship launch event, which was held at Headingley Stadium, the players and their families were welcomed by Leeds Rhinos’ Chief Executive Gary Hetherington, before player pathway development manager John Bastian, head of youth Simon Bell and first team head coach Richard Agar presented the evening. Current first team players Liam Sutcliffe and Jack Walker also shared their experiences of progressing through the club’s pathway, having both made the step up to the first team in the last decade.

13 community clubs from around Yorkshire are represented in the Rhinos scholarship’s class of 2022 and all players wore their respective club colours for the event. Guiseley Rangers and Lock Lane have the most representatives across the 34 players with five each, while there are also Under-15s players from Dewsbury Celtic (Harley Thomas and George Brown), Dewsbury Moor (Joseph Diskin), Birkenshaw Blue Dogs (Leo Evans) and Birstall Victoria (Harry Siepker).

Speaking after the event, Bastian said he was pleased to see so many clubs were represented in next year’s cohort and is looking forward to getting to work with them, after starting in his new role last month. “It has been an enjoyable evening,” he said. “It’s the first time that the club has been able to do this for two years and it has been great to have the players and their parents and families alongside them.

“I’ll always credit the community clubs too for the hard work they put in to create opportunities for these players. It’s important that we keep trying to build the community game; all facets of the game in fact need to be involved.

“Our talent ID staff have done a terrific job in getting these players on board. We’ve got some quality staff that are going to help to progress and develop them and it’s important that we get as many of these players playing at the top end as we can.”

Leeds Rhinos scholarship head coach Mark Butterill added: “To get them to sample the environment that is Headingley and the new facilities is absolutely fantastic and to also have Liam Sutcliffe, Jack Walker, Richard Agar and Gary Hetherington here put the icing on the cake.

“There’s always a real buzz at the start of pre season. We get a new cohort of players in who have different personalities, different sizes, different shapes, different positions and come from different community clubs so that is the challenge for us at this level to bring them all together and to mould them into a Leeds Rhino.”

Harry Smith and Harley Thomas are two of the Under-15s players who have signed first scholarship contracts with the club and both were proud to have been selected. “It’s amazing, it’s been a dream since I was young,” said Smith. “It’s just the start of the journey. I hope to get into the academy and then the first team. Talent can only get you so far, you need to work hard outside of all the training that’s going on, in nutrition and everything.”

Thomas said: “I’m very happy. When my dad told me that I’d signed for Leeds Rhinos, I was over the moon. I’ve been at Dewsbury Celtic for about ten years so it feels good to represent them at the Rhinos.”

The full scholarship squad for 2022 is:

U16s

Player NameCommunity ClubSchool
Kai Taylor-SmithHunslet Club ParksideBruntcliffe
Leo EvansBirkinshaw Blue DogsThornton Beckfoot
Sonny PattisonEast LeedsRoyds
Lloyd McEwan-PetersGuiseley RangersPrince Henry’s
Ben Findlay Guiseley RangersRodillian
Fergus McCormack Guiseley RangersWoodhouse Grove
David BensonHunslet Club ParksideBrigshaw
Bobby HartleyEast LeedsMount St Mary’s
Mason CorbettEast LeedsJohn Smeaton
Joe PhillipsSiddalRyburn Valley
Josh HepworthKippax WelfareBrigshaw
Archie HurfordGuiseley RangersWoodhouse Grove
Mark NelsonEast LeedsCorpus Christi
Harry TaylorGuiseley RangersPrince Henry’s
Casey CunninghamHunslet Club ParksideSouth Leeds John Charles

U15s

Player NameCommunity ClubSchool
Harry SmithWest BowlingButtershaw BBEC
Dylan HutchinsonLock LaneCastleford Academy
Marcus Qareqare Lock LaneSherburn High
Alexander Cowley Lock LaneCastleford Academy
Joseph Butterfield Lock LaneTadcaster Grammar School
Jack WilsonLock LaneQueen Ethelburga’s
Callum WebsterOulton RaidersTemple Moor
Noah WhittinghamOulton RaidersBoston Spa
Luca Teal Oulton RaidersRodilian
George BrownDewsbury Celtic Rodilian
Harley ThomasDewsbury CelticSpen Valley
Harry SiepkerBirstall VictoriaMirfield Free Grammar
Lore Jones-BuchananStanningleyPriesthorpe
Elliott Fox StanningleyCardinal Heenan
Presley CassellSiddalTrinity Academy
Joseph DiskinDewsbury MoorSpen Valley
Jacob SteadWest BowlingLightcliffe Academy
Toby MarshallWest BowlingLightcliffe Academy
Jayemm OladipupoWest BowlingSt Bede’s

Support the Rhinos Academy

In July 2020, Leeds Rhinos teamed up with new official Lottery partners, the National Youth & Community Development Association (NYCDA), which is a not for profit organisation committed to helping its partners raise funding for initiatives.

Money raised through the Leeds Rhinos draw will go back into the club’s Academy, to help develop and support the next generation of Rhinos on the player development pathway.

Fans can join Rhinos 4 Life for just £1 per week and will be entered into the NYCDA Weekly Draw for a chance to win £1000s in cash prizes every week, whilst also helping to generate funds that will support the future of the club at its young players.

Keep an eye out on the website and social media platforms for upcoming news and developments on this partnership including announcements on none cash prizes from Leeds Rhinos, as well as all other NYCDA partners.

The current prize fund has a £1000 Jackpot, additional prizes of £100, £50, £25 and 10 x £10.

Click here to find out more about Rhinos 4 Life

For any further enquiries, to find out how to get your business involved, the latest results and details on where proceeds go, then please get in touch using the email or phone details below:

Phone: 0113 512 4159
Email: [email protected]