• Leeds Rhinos
  • 42 - 20

  • Newcastle Thunder
  • Leeds Rhinos
  • HT 24 - 10
  • Newcastle Thunder
17th June 2021 | KO 19:00 | Emerald Headingley |

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Wallace and Sheils set to start for Under-19s in Thunder clash

Leeds Rhinos Academy vs Castleford Tigers Academy at Emerald Headingley in Leeds. Picture courtesy of Craig Hawkhead Photography

Following the Under-17s’ win over Wigan Warriors last night, Leeds Rhinos Under-19s will look to follow that up with a result tonight against Newcastle Thunder Under-19s, kick off 7pm.

It’s been three weeks since Chev Walker’s side were narrowly defeated by Castleford Tigers on home soil so tonight’s clash will be an opportunity for the players to show their best attributes on the field, like they did against London Broncos in their first game back. Newcastle on the other hand have played four games so far since returning to action in May but only have one win. Consecutive defeats to Warrington, Wakefield and Hull FC were tough to take for Michael Heap’s side but they finally got their first win of 2021 last week against Bradford Bulls; Thunder scoring 44 points in a rout at Kingston Park.

AJ Wallace gets his first start since stepping up into the Academy two years ago and there is also a first start of the year for Ben Sheils, who came off the bench against the Tigers last time out. Luca Atkinson will operate alongside Jack Mallinson and Coby Nichol is reintroduced after missing the last match through injury.

On the bench, Ethan Spear plays his first Academy game, having impressed against London Broncos Under-17s, and there is also a place for Alfie Edgell and Bailey Aldridge who both featured for the Under-17s in their win last night; Aldridge scoring two tries.

Like Toby Warren for the Under-17s, full back Myles Harrison has also joined the club on a month by month loan spell from York City Knights. He recently signed a new deal to stay with the Knights until the end of 2023, after starting at full back in York’s Betfred Challenge Cup defeat to Wigan, but he will get extra game time with the Rhinos.

The lineup for tonight is:

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Wallace and Sheils set to start for Under-19s in Thunder clash

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Leeds Rhinos U19 42 Newcastle Thunder U19 20

Max Simpson (4) of Leeds Rhinos Picture courtesy of Craig Hawkhead Photography

Two tries from Ben Sheils, Max Simpson and captain Oli Field, plus further scores from AJ Wallace and Ben Mayhew, helped Leeds Rhinos Under-19s dismissed Newcastle Thunder 42-20 at Emerald Headingley.

The Rhinos got off the best possible start as captain Oli Field opened the scoring after only two minutes. As Leeds had forced a repeat set, pushing Newcastle full back Alex Donaghy back into his in goal area to make the visitors drop out, the home side came in search of point and Field managed to evade the tackle from Nathan Clemmitt to score by the posts.

Newcastle produced a response to keep themselves in the match. A dangerous tackle on Malik Steele earned Thunder a penalty, which put them down on the Rhinos’ 20 metre line, and a nice sweeping move across the field was finished by Matty Parks, who took Ciaran Walker’s ball over the top to walk in.

With the score at 6-4, Leeds needed a response to Newcastle’s pressure and produced back to back tries to put breathing space between their opponents. After forcing another drop out from their opponents, second rower Ben Mayhew ran a great line from a short pass by Jack Mallinson and managed to get the ball down, despite having three Newcastle players on his back. Then from kick off, Field managed to evade two Thunder defenders and break away. Under pressure from Donaghy, the captain did well to keep his feet and get the ball down. Mallinson converted all three of Leeds’ tries to make the score 18-4.

Chev Walker’s side took their lead to 20 points just passed to 20 minute mark as Max Simpson scored the try of the game. Newcastle had pushed forward and camped themselves on Leeds’ try line but pressure from the Rhinos defence forced Walker to lose the ball and Simpson swooped to pick up the loose ball and run 90 metres to finish a sensational effort.

Simpson’s wing partner Ben Sheils was unlucky not to score twice before half time, fumbling a quick pass from Simpson under pressure from Parks and then when he did finally get the ball over the try line minutes later, the referee pulled the play back for a forward pass by Mallinson. Newcastle felt threatened and made sure they got a try back before the break, Isaac Nokes finishing off a great move in the corner. Walker converted to make the score 24-10.


Thunder came out firing at the start of the second half and thought they had got over the try line after a matter of minutes. A knock on by Oli Field and penalty for a ball strip against Luca Atkinson proved costly for the home side as Newcastle stretched the Rhinos defence before Todd Wilkinson and Walker combined to push the ball wide for Parks to touch down in the corner, only for the referee to call the pass forward.

Leeds reacted through Sheils, who got two consecutive tries. Having been denied twice already in the first half, the winger took a great pass from Mallinson and had the pace to beat three Newcastle defenders to score in the corner before the Rhinos used the same move again to put the winger over for a second try of the night.

A break by Isaac Nokes put Thomas Moore in for Newcastle’s first try of the second half but the young Rhinos once again responded as Simpson was the quickest to Atkinson’s grubber kick to take Leeds beyond 30 points.

Thunder wouldn’t leave empty handed as Parks finally got his second try; swooping on a grubber kick by Simpson before running away from the Leeds centre to touch down under the posts. Walker converted to bring the score to 36-20.

AJ Wallace had the final say for the Rhinos as from a Newcastle drop out, the prop managed to wriggle out of the tackle of Jake Anderson and Elliot Shaw and beat Donaghy to ground the ball and round off a 42-20 win for Walker’s side.