FORMER SOUTHSTANDER Ashton Golding says he is “over the moon” to have committed his long-term future to Leeds Rhinos.
The 20-year-old full-back has signed a new contract which will keep him at Headingley until the end of the 2021 season.
Golding, a product of the Stanningley community club, made his Rhinos debut in 2014 and 13 of his 31 senior appearances have come this year.
He has been one of Rhinos’ top performers in 2017, distinguishing himself with a series of last-gasp try-saving tackles including a stunning effort to keep out Castleford Tigers captain Michael Shenton during last Sunday’s Dacia Magic Weekend defeat.
“I am over the moon to have agreed a new five-year contract,” said the Bramley-born star, who is a lifelong Rhinos fan and stood in the South Stand as a youngster before signing for the club.
“I have always dreamed of being able to stay at this club for a long time and to have signed on the dotted line now means a lot to me and my family.”
Golding was handed Leeds’ no1 shirt in the off-season, following Zak Hardaker’s departure and stressed: “There has been a lot of confidence shown in me this year.
“I think there is something special here at this club with the fans, the players, the coaches and the set-up and I am just glad to be part of that for at least the next five years.
“It means a lot to me to play for this great club and pull my shirt on.”
Coach Brian McDermott reckons the long-term deal is good news for Betfred Super League as well as the Leeds club.
He said: “Ashton thoroughly deserves this new deal and it is great for not just our club, but the Super League competition that we are retaining young British talent like Ashton.
“He has a real enthusiasm and desire to continue to learn and develop.
“The opportunities in front of him in the next five years are exciting ones.
“He is passionate about Leeds Rhinos and what we stand for and this is great news for the club as a whole.”
Golding has yet to score a try this season – after touching down three times in 13 games last year – but has landed 14 goals as a back-up to first-choice kicker Liam Sutcliffe.