Future bright as Leeds Rhinos dominate Yorkshire academy squad: Players drafted in from Hunslet and Featherstone Rovers to boost reserves side against Castleford Tigers

Having nine players on academy Origin duty shows the strength of Leeds Rhinos’ youth system, scholarship coach Mark Butterill says.

By Peter Smith
Friday, 13th May 2022, 6:01 pm
Updated Friday, 13th May 2022, 6:03 pm

Rhinos’ Bailey Aldridge, Alfie Edgehill, Harrison Gilmore, Jake Higgins, Riley Lumb, Kai Morgan, Max Simpson and Jack Smith are in the Yorkshire squad, which is coached by Leeds’ academy and reserves boss Chev Walker.

Another Leeds youngster, Jack Sinfield, is set to feature for Lancashire in tomorrow’s game at Widnes.

Butterill, who assists Walker with Rhinos’ under-18s, said: “It’s a good achievement to have that many representatives in the squad and Chev coaching Yorkshire as well. It is a great endorsement for our academy as a whole.”

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Kai Morgan is one of nine Rhinos players on academy Origin duty. Picture by Bruce Rollinson.

Simpson and Sinfield have already tasted Betfred Super League rugby and Butterill added: “We are really strong at that age group. The under-18s have won seven from seven so far this year, so they are in a good place at the moment.”

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The Origin call-ups have left Rhinos low on numbers for today’s reserves game against Castleford Tigers at the Jungle (2.30pm), so Featherstone Rovers’ Brandon Pickersgill has been drafted in on loan, alongside Hunset players Kiedan Hartley, Aaron Jones-Bishop, Jack Mallinson, Liam Carr, Charlie Bodman and Jacob Beer.

Hartley and Mallinson are both products of Rhinos’ academy.

Oli Field, Joe Hird, Joe Gibbons and Mackenzie Turner are set to play after returning to Rhinos from a two-week loan spell with Betfred League One newcomers Cornwall.

With Walker on Yorkshire duty, Butterill will be in charge of the Leeds team today.

He said: “It’s something a bit different for me.

“In an ideal world I’d have liked to have more of our own players, but I am really looking forward to it.”