Leeds Rhinos: Jordan-Roberts still chasing his Rhinos dream

Josh Jordan-Roberts.
Josh Jordan-Roberts.
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TEENAGE FORWARD Josh Jordan-Roberts admits he does not know where his future lies, but insists he has not given up hope of playing again for Leeds Rhinos.

The 19-year-old Oulton Raiders product is out of contract at the end of this season and has not been in talks over a new deal.

Josh Jordan-Roberts.

Josh Jordan-Roberts.

Jordan-Roberts and the currently-injured Alex Sutcliffe are the only members of Rhinos’ full-time squad not to have played for them this year.

He has been gaining valuable gametime at Betfred League One neighbours Hunslet and – despite Rhinos’ injury crisis – that deal was extended for another month last week.

Winger/centre Ash Handley and prop Adam Cuthbertson have become the first of Rhinos’ coming out of contract players to sign a new deal, signing for three and two years respectively. Of his own prospects of a new contract at Leeds, Jordan-Roberts said: “There’s been nothing said at the moment.

“I am just playing it on a week to week basis at the minute.

It has always been a dream of mine to play for the club and if it comes up where I get an extension I will happily sign.

Josh Jordan-Roberts

“It has always been a dream of mine to play for the club and if it comes up where I get an extension I will happily sign.

“But if that’s not the case and I have to find somewhere else then so be it.”

After progressing through Rhinos’ academy, Jordan-Roberts made his first-team debut against Leigh in the final game of 2016 and added another substitute appearance last season.

He also played seven times on loan for Bradford Bulls in the Betfred Championship during 2017 and has been gaining more experience on a similar deal at Hunslet.

Hunslet head coach Gary Thornton.

Hunslet head coach Gary Thornton.

“I am still training with Leeds every day and I train at Hunslet on a night,” he explained. “I am learning different systems and changing between the two is quite a fun thing to do.

“I am taking stuff to Hunslet that we are doing [at Leeds] and I am taking my own stuff back and working on things with Chev [Walker, one of Rhinos’ assistant-coaches] pretty closely on a one-to-one basis.

“We sit down and watch all the games.

“It’s not like they’ve said ‘we’ll see you when your loan’s over’ It is quite a good place to be in at the minute.”

Hunslet had feared Jordan-Roberts might be recalled due to Leeds’ mounting injury-list.

The Parksiders’ coach Gary Thornton admitted the extended loan is good news for the semi-professional outfit.

“He has been very good for us, I’ve been really pleased with him,” Thornton said.

“We would miss him if he was recalled.”

Jordan-Roberts – son of former Super League player and current East Leeds coach Rob Roberts – believes the arrangement benefits all parties, keeping him match-fit and strenthening Hunslet’s squad.

“It came up and it was something I snapped at,” he said.

“I spoke to Gary [Hetherington, Rhinos’ chief executive] and he said there was an opportunity to go on loan.

“I sat down with my agent and we said we needed to find somewhere sharpish because I’d not played in five weeks.

“Hunslet were the first ones to come back and say ‘we can guarantee some game time and we’re keen to have you’.

“We snapped up the chance, I am 11 games in now and I have loved every minute.

“The boys have accepted me and I’ve fitted straight in.”

At a young age Jordan-Roberts has already played in all three divisions of the professional game and has been impressed with the standard in League One.

He said: “It is a really tough competition. Travelling up to Cumbria is tough and everyone can beat everyone at the moment. It’s very tight from about fourth in the table to eighth. No disrespect to teams like West Wales, Hemel and Coventry, there are weakened sides, but what they are trying to do is build from what they have. Full credit to them, they turn up and they have a real dig.”