Leeds Rhinos forward James Donaldson agrees contract extension - new deal keeps former Bradford Bulls at Hull KR man at Headingley until end of 2023

New dad James Donaldson has promised to show Leeds Rhinos fans “the best of me” after signing a two-year contract extension.

Tuesday, 23rd March 2021, 8:10 am

The 29-year-old’s previous deal was due to expire this autumn, but Rhinos have moved quickly to keep him at Emerald Headingley until the end of 2023.

Leeds rescued Donaldson’s career after he was left without a club when Hull KR decided not to keep him on at the end of 2018.

The former Bradford Bulls forward initially joined Rhinos as a trialist and has become a mainstay of the pack over the past two years, mainly being used as a substitute to add energy off the bench.

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James Donaldson in possession for Rhinos in this month's pre-season game at Huddersfield. Picture by Tony Johnson.

Now, with Leeds set to kick off their Betfred Super League campaign against Wakefield Trinity in four days time, Donaldson reckons he is approaching his peak.

“I think I am playing the best rugby of my career now,” he said.

“I believe in the last year I have really managed to kick on.

“I have worked hard on my skills and I think in the next few years, the Leeds fans will see the best of me.

James Donaldson is delighted with his contract extension. Picture by Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com.

“I have a lot more to give on the field and hopefully things will continue to get better.”

Donaldson has scored four tries in 41 games for Rhinos and said agreeing a new deal now means he can focus fully on rugby this year.

He added: “I am over the moon to have it sorted.

“It has been a journey to get to this point and I think I am a different player now than when I first arrived at the club.

“I am really excited about what the future holds for me at the Rhinos.

“The main thing for me was to get my contract sorted as soon as possible so I can keep my head down and not have to worry about my future.

“With a new baby here, my son Tobias, it secures my future for him too and that’s why this deal was massive for me.”

Donaldson was keen to thank coach Richard Agar and director of rugby] Kevin Sinfield.

“They believed in me and have given me the opportunity to play at this great club,” he stressed.

“Leeds is my home now and I wear the badge with pride.”

Agar welcomed Donaldson’s latest contract.

“We are delighted James has agreed a new deal,” he said.

“He is an exemplary professional who has been a great addition to our squad over the last two years.

“He works incredibly hard on his own game and is a great example for our younger players.

“I am looking forward to seeing how he continues to improve in the years ahead.”

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