A year at London Broncos could be the making of three of Leeds Rhinos’ young stars, winger Ben Jones-Bishop has predicted.
Centre Thomas Minns, winger James Duckworth and second-row Alex Foster this week joined Super League rivals Broncos on a full-season loan.
The moves came less than a week after centre Jimmy Keinhorst and utility-back Luke Briscoe linked up with Wakefield Trinity Wildcats for the whole of 2014.
Jones-Bishop spent the 2010 season on loan at the then-Harlequins, scoring 10 tries in 17 appearances and earning an England Knights call-up.
He went to London as a fringe player and returned a seasoned Super League regular and reckons Leeds’ current loan players can do the same.
“I think it will benefit them,” he said. “The biggest thing is, coming through the system here it is difficult to break into the first team and play regularly, with the stars we’ve got. Going somewhere and playing regularly, week-in and week-out and gaining Super League experience is definitely a benefit.
“You get taught well coming from the academy here, but to go out on the pitch and deal with situations at game speed and Super League speed is really valuable experience.”
Keinhorst (nine games) and Foster (eight) both earned a new contract after impressing for Rhinos last year.
Briscoe is yet to make a senior appearance, while Minns played three games in 2013 and Duckworth was selected twice for the first team.
With both Wakefield and London operating on a reduced budget this term, all five are likely to feature regularly at senior level.
“It is all about getting the game time,” Jones-Bishop added. “Obviously you still have to perform wherever you go, but there is a greater chance of playing week-in, week-out there and just learning.
“Especially for the boys down in London, they are out of their comfort zone and away from home. It develops them on the field and off it as a person as well. When I went down there I was pretty lucky because I went to Sheffield Hallam University and I was used to being away from home.
“For these boys it might be their first experience and they will learn to stand on their own two feet.”
Jones-Bishop is pleased London have survived a traumatic off-season and will compete again this year.
“When I went down people said it hasn’t worked in the capital,” he said.
“But there’s an awful lot of kids playing rugby league down there. If you look at the first team a lot of youngsters have come through. I think it is working.
“It is obviously a work in progress and they are finding out their identity and things like that – I hope they succeed.”
The on-loan trio could all play for London against Leeds in Ryan Bailey’s benefit match at Headingley Carnegie on January 31.
n LEEDS RHINOS Under-19s were beaten 36-20 by hosts Catalan Dragons in the second game of their French tour last night.
Robbie Ward, Jordan Harper, Billy McDermott and Josh Walters scored Rhinos’ tries and Ben White kicked two conversions.