Leeds Rhinos youngster Morgan Gannon happy to be making an impact on Super League
Emerging talent Morgan Gannon has exceeded his own expectations this year, by 1,000 per cent.
Gannon has been included in Leeds Rhinos’ squad for the visit of Huddersfield Giants tomorrow and if he plays, it will be his 10th first team game.
The 17-year-old made his debut in a BBC-televised Betfred Challenge Cup tie away to St Helens, just months after joining the full-time squad from the Siddal amateur club in Halifax.
He bagged a maiden try in May’s derby win at Castleford Tigers, got his first start at home to Leigh in July and took another step forward last Friday when he played the full 80 minutes away against the same opponents.
Rhinos coach Richard Agar feels Gannon has a huge future at Super League level and the way he has handled everything thrown at him so far this year suggests Leeds have a hugely exciting prospect on their books.
“It’s the first time I’ve played 80 so it was a really good experience, to be out there and have an impact the whole time,” Gannon said of the game five days ago.
“I was happy with how I pulled up and the lungs were all right as well.
“I was happy to get through it.”
Gannon knows he is on a steep learning curve.
He admitted: “Every game has kind of been the next step, a new step and a new test.
“Playing the 80 was another challenge.
“I am glad I did it and I want to play more.”
With first-choice second-rowers Alex Mellor (knee injury) and Rhyse Martin (suspended) both unavailable, the Halifax-based youngster - son of former Super League forward Jim Gannon - is likely to get another chance tomorrow.
“Fingers crossed, it is another opportunity for me to play,” he said.
“I definitely want to keep my place in the team now and really kick on and show what I can do.
“At the start of the year I did a couple of sessions with the first team, in January in pre-season and I kind of set myself a goal to play one game this year.
“It was the third game of the year when I got to play and I didn’t expect to be playing as much as I have.
“Obviously there’s been a bit of luck, there’s been people out, but I feel like I‘ve held my own and I feel comfortable in how I’ve been on the field.
“I don’t feel massively out of my depth.
“It is still a massive challenge but I feel like I am getting on all right.”
Gannon is one of a posse of young Rhinos forwards beginning to make a name for themselves at the top level.
Cameron Smith and Mikolaj Oledzki are both established first team players at the age of 22 and Sam Walters, Jarrod O’Connor and Tom Holroyd, who have all featured in the senior side this year, are just 20.
“There’s a really young pack coming through,” Gannon observed.
“I think if we can build a really good combination there’s definitely a bright future with the young lads we have here.”
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