LEEDS Rhinos have been handed a four-some boost ahead of Friday’s Engage Super League round two trip to Hull.
Young quartet Ryan Hall, Ben Jones-Bishop, Chris Clarkson and Kallum Watkins have all agreed new four-year contracts – tying them to the club until the end of 2014.
Twenty three-year-old winger Hall’s try against Bradford Bulls last Sunday was his 76th in just 90 appearances for Leeds and he is already an established England international.
Full-back/winger Jones-Bishop, 22, scored a career-first hat-trick in the win over Bradford on his return from a season-long loan at Harlequins – a spell which saw him called into England’s Four Nations train-on squad.
Clarkson, a 20-year-old back-rower, broke into Rhinos’ senior side last year, when still a part-time player and went from being an apprentice bricklayer to an appearance in the Challenge Cup final at Wembley.
Centre Watkins, 19, is rated as one of the most exciting prospects in the British game, despite missing most of last season due to a serious knee injury.
The re-signings are “great news” according to Rhinos coach Brian McDermott.
He said: “All of them have got at least half a season’s first-team experience, so it’s very good for the future.
“It proves the Leeds youth system is in good nick and is still producing top class juniors.
“They are a credit to themselves and their families and to all those who have put in many hours down the years in the amateur and schools game.
“I am proud that as a sport rugby league can attract young men of this calibre.”
Rhinos chief executive Gary Hetherington described the four long-term deals as a statement of intent.
He said: “Last year we announced a four-year vision for the club which included the redevelopment of the South Stand along with a new giant screen and pitch for the stadium.
“We said we needed supporters to invest in the club so we could continue to invest in the squad to make sure we have a world class facility and team to perform in it.
“We created the Rhinos 4 Life scheme which offered supporters a four-year price freeze on their season ticket and it is apt that these four talented, young, local players will be at the heart of our squad over those four years.”
Meanwhile, New Zealand forward Weller Hauraki is set to make his Rhinos debut at Hull on Friday.