TEENAGE PROSPECT Elliot Minchella says it would be a dream come true to play in Friday’s Leeds Rhinos-Bradford Bulls derby.
The 18-year-old was a Bulls fan before joining Leeds and admitted he is sorry to see Bradford doomed to relegation from First Utility Super League.
Minchella received a late call into Rhinos’ side for last Friday’s win at Salford and could drop out this week if any of Leeds’ injured players return.
But he said: “I am sad to see them go down, but I would love to play against Bradford. I have grown up watching Leeds-Bradford derbies, though not with a Leeds shirt on.
“It would be good to play against Bradford, especially at Headingley, in front of the fans. It’s unbelievable and I can’t imagine what it would be like.
“Hopefully Bradford will bring a few fans, with it being the last derby against Leeds for a while – or definitely a season. I would love to be in and around the team.”
Minchella admitted the fixture list won’t be the same next year, with no Leeds-Bradford games to look forward to.
“When I was 10, 11, 12, at the start of the season I always used to look for when Leeds played Bradford,” he recalled.
“Especially down at Odsal on a Thursday night at Easter, they were games I used to think I want to be part of that.
“I have got a chance of doing that now and it is something I have always dreamed about. I am sad to see them go down, but hopefully they will bounce straight back up.”
The win at Salford was Minchella’s third appearance of the season and fourth senior game in all.
“Things are going really well,” he said. “I got a call on Friday afternoon saying ‘you’re in’.
“I was due to be 18th man and you have to be ready.
“I had been itching for the last few weeks to get out there, since the Wakefield game.
“I know I could have done a lot better against Wakefield and I just wanted to put that right.
“It was a couple of weeks coming and leading up to Friday I just thought I have to play every game like it is my last one.
“You might not get another chance, because that’s the type of sport we’re in. I thought I did myself justice and hopefully it’ll be good enough for this week.”
The Wakefield game was a disappointing 16-14 loss for Leeds, who led going into the final moments before conceding a killer try.
Rhinos were under late pressure at Salford, but managed to hang on for a 22-18 success and Minchella said: “It was a similar type of game, with it going right down to the last minute, but fortunately we managed to hold on to that one.
“It was a great feeling, going there and getting a win. They were on a good run of form and we did well to get a win in front of their fans.”
Fellow teenage rookie Josh Walters was also included in last week’s side and Minchella said: “From playing in the 19s to coming into a team that goes to Salford and beats them, it is a real confidence-booster.
“If we are going to go back down to the 19s - whenever that might be - we are going to take that with us and pass it on to the other lads.
“With us being young lads in the first team we are full of enthusiasm and we just want to get out there and make a big impression, because you never know when you are going to pull the shirt on again.”