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Leeds Rhinos’ Ashton Golding on mission to be No 1 full-back

Ashton Golding. PIC: Tony Johnson
Ashton Golding. PIC: Tony Johnson
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LOCAL HERO Ashton Golding has admitted he wants to play full-back for Leeds Rhinos, but says he will always put the team first.

It has been a tough year for Golding who made 22 appearances, but fell behind Jack Walker in Rhinos’ pecking order. With Walker sidelined due to concussion Golding was recalled at full-back for Rhinos’ final game of the season – when they lost 17-16 to Toronto Wolfpack – and is hoping to get more time there next year.

'Young pretender' Jack Walker. PIC: Paul Currie/SWpix.com

'Young pretender' Jack Walker. PIC: Paul Currie/SWpix.com

“It is difficult for me because I have got a great player who plays in my position as well,” admitted the 22-year-old. “I am just there for the team – I’ve been used at hooker, at 13, on the wing, I will play for the team, I don’t mind where I play. I am a rugby league player first, but of course I want to play full-back and [against Toronto] I really enjoyed it.

“I thought I had some good moments, but what will be will be. I think I put a good foot forward and gave [the coaching staff] something to think about.”

The loss to Toronto was a dismal end to a disastrous season. Golding felt Leeds’ performance that night let down their fans and reckons the memory will drive them on through pre-season. He said: “Where would you want to be on a Friday night other than under the lights at Headingley?

“I said it to the boys on the way out and on the way in, this is home and it’s what we want to be doing. There’s no better crowd and no better craic with the lads. Everything’s built for us, it’s all here, but we just need to perform.

I will play for the team, I don’t mind where I play. I am a rugby league player first, but of course I want to play full-back and [against Toronto] I really enjoyed it.

Ashton Golding

“Toronto were desperate, but we fell into their hands and played their type of game. I felt we could have taken the game with many opportunities, but we didn’t and that’s the story of our season. We will be looking at that next year and pushing forward and we’ll be back up at the top where we want to be.”

Rhinos’ players are now on their close-season break, but Golding revealed: “My year’s not fully done yet. I’ll be playing for Jamaica again over in America. It’s a World Cup qualifier and I think we’ve got a really good chance this year. We’ve got some really good players in the squad and we’ve been together a couple of years now.

“America’s got a great squad, they will be no walkovers so we’ve got to turn up with the right attitude, but the ball is in our court and it’s up to us whether we serve it or we flop.”

Golding said international duty won’t affect his pre-season with Rhinos.

Jamaica international Ashton Golding. PIC: Bruce Rollinson

Jamaica international Ashton Golding. PIC: Bruce Rollinson

He stressed: “I’ll be coming back as soon as we land back from the Jamaica camp. I just want to get in and get working hard. This pre-season I probably won’t be going on holiday, I’ll stay at home and work hard to be right for next year.”