RISING STAR Harry Newman has thrown his hat into the ring in the contest to become one of Leeds Rhinos’ first choice wingers next year.
Ash Handley has been handed squad number five, following Ryan Hall’s departure to Sydney Roosters, but Luke Briscoe and Ashton Golding are also contenders for the left-wing spot.
Newman is a specialist centre, but has also played on the wing and says he will be putting pressure on his team-mates in the three-quarters ahead of Rhinos’ Betfred Super League opener at Warrington Wolves on February 2.
Newman, 18, played three times for Rhinos this year – once on the right-wing and twice at centre – and also made 12 appearances on dual-registration for Featherstone Rovers, scoring 16 tries.
That form boosted his reputation as one of the hottest young properties in the English game and the Betfred Championship young player of the year nominee is keen to push for more gametime at Leeds in 2019, despite having marquee signing Konrad Hurrell and captain Kallum Watkins ahead of him in the centres’ pecking order.
“They are two world class centres,” he said. “I will learn a lot from them and hopefully push on for a starting spot.
“I am really looking to either push for the left-wing spot or push above Konrad and Kallum.
“I have played all positions in the outside-backs and the more positions you can play the more chances you have of getting in the team.”
Of the competition with Handley, Briscoe and Golding, he added: “We are all young and we’re still learning, which makes it exciting.
“We’re all keen to learn off the older lads and the senior lads and push on for that spot.”
Newman is training full-time with Rhinos and feels he is improving with every session.
“Last year I was in and out with college, but this year is my first full pre-season,” he said.
“It has gone really well, we’ve got a really good new coach in Dave Furner and I am learning a lot already.”
Rovers will be keen to take Newman back if he is not getting into Leeds’ side.
“I learned a lot there last season,” he reflected.
“I’ll probably start the season there again and hopefully find some form and really kick on.”
Rovers have lost a host of experienced players, but veteran forward Brett Delaney has joined them from Rhinos and ex-Leeds duo Jordan Tansey and Ryan Bailey are both training there on a trial basis.
Newman observed: “They’ve signed two Papua New Guineans as well and there’s a lot of young lads there and I think they will do really well.”
Newman was not selected for the Yorkshire academy side which lost 30-22 to Australian Schoolboys last week, but is expected to feature for England in this month’s two Tests.
England go into camp today to prepare to play the Aussies in Leigh on Saturday and again at Emerald Headingley six days later.