James Donaldson has designs on a new Leeds Rhinos deal

James Donaldson palms off Matt Parcell during last week's clash with Hull KR.
James Donaldson palms off Matt Parcell during last week's clash with Hull KR.
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Forward James Donaldson’s playing future has yet to be decided, but he is keen to stay at Leeds Rhinos.

The 27-year-old Cumbrian joined Rhinos as a trialist last December and signed a one-year contract the following month.

James Donaldson.

James Donaldson.

The former Bradford Bulls and Hull KR man has played in 20 of Rhinos’ 24 competitive games this season, though only three of his appearances have been in the starting line-up.

He revealed he doesn’t yet have a deal for 2020, but stressed: “I would love to stay at Leeds.

“There’s nowhere else I would want to play my rugby than Leeds at the moment.”

The 32-16 home loss to Hull KR last Friday was a collective off day, but Donaldson was in good form before that and reflected: “Personally I have been quite happy with my performances.

James Donaldson.

James Donaldson.

“It maybe wasn’t my best last week, I could have been better in a few places, but as long as I am doing my job for the team and bringing an impact off the bench – making my tackles and doing the one percenters, which is my game – I have been pretty happy.

“I have been playing most weeks and I am really enjoying playing under Rich [Agar, Rhinos’ interim-coach].

“He has filled me with confidence in my game and I think it has brought the best out of me.”

Agar’s future is also up in the air with no decision yet announced on who will coach Leeds next season.

Agar – a former Hull and Wakefield Trinity team boss – joined Leeds last autumn in a non-coaching role, but has made a positive impression on Donaldson.

“I have been really impressed by him,” he said. “His technical work and his man-to-man management is top notch.”

The loss to Rovers dragged Leeds back into a pack of clubs fighting to pull clear of relegation danger and was a backwards step after impressive wins over Catalans Dragons and Castleford Tigers.

“It was disappointing,” Donaldson admitted. “But we take every week as it comes and we are on to the next task now.

“It is a massive one against Hull on Sunday and one we want to win.

“I have played in a few derbies, there has not been many changes in their team over the last few years so we kind of know what we are up against and we are trying to prepare ourselves as best we can to put a huge performance in.”

Despite being third in the table Hull have had some heavy losses to go with a string of impressive wins and Donaldson reckons that inconsistency runs “across the board” in Super League.

He said. “It is whoever turns up on the day with the better attitude can go on to get the win. That’s what it’s a matter of, making sure you prepare your game right and you have the right attitude to do all the little things right that might help the bigger picture.

“I don’t think there’s any breathing space for anyone.

“Every game is massive and every game is a must-win.”