Young players will take a crucial role for Leeds Rhinos this season – and tomorrow’s Lazenby Cup tie is an opportunity for them to prove their worth.
That’s the message from Rhinos assistant-coach Chris Plume, who will take charge of the side for tomorrow’s annual trip to neighbours Hunslet Hawks.
Rhinos’ squad includes 13 players with Super League experience and 10 of them have just returned from a pre-season training camp in Florida, but the old man of the team is second-rower Mitch Achurch, at just 26.
“It is not that much different to the squad we fielded last year, but the players are a year older and there are higher expectations on these players now,” Plume said.
“There’s a lot being demanded of the young players in the squad at the moment. They are going to have to do a really important role for us throughout Super League and they have to step up and perform well. Games like this are an ideal opportunity to ram home that they can do that.”
Leeds will also give a run-out to six academy players who have yet to taste senior rugby and Plume added: “It is a great chance for them to show they can play against men, physically and mentally.”
Hawks are the Lazenby Cup holders after a 20-16 win last year.
Plume stressed: “It is the first piece of silverware for 2015 and it’d be nice to bring it back to Headingley, though I’m sure Hunslet won’t want to give it up easily.”
Admission prices tomorrow are £10 adults, £5 concessions and free for under-16s.