FIRST-CHOICE full-back Ashton Golding has welcomed the competition for Leeds Rhinos’ No 1 shirt.
Seventeen-year-old Jack Walker signed a three-year contract last week and has been promised a place in Leeds’ first-team squad for next year.
He was originally reluctant to commit to Leeds as he wants to play full-back and Golding is on a long-term deal. Walker was 18th man for last Friday’s 32-16 win over Wigan Warriors in the Super-8s, when Golding scored two tries in his best performance of the season so far.
“You need competition for places,” said Golding, 20. “Jack is an outstanding young man, even without playing rugby and then what he does on the pitch speaks for itself. It’ll be great to work with him. We both have different things in our game and it will be really good for the battle. We’ll see how it goes, but I just want every success for the club.
“If that’s me playing full-back I am over the moon, but if Jack is playing full-back as long as we win and get to the Grand Final I am happy.”
Golding’s brace were his first two tries in the league this year after he opened his account in Leeds’ Challenge Cup semi-final loss to Hull, but he said the win over Wigan was more pleasing than his own achievement.
“The boys put it in for the full-80,” he said. “It was really impressive. In some games we’ve put it in for 40 and some games 60, but that was a good full-80.
“There were some hurting men out there and they put their bodies on the line and kept going. That’s the real Leeds. We said we needed a response after the semi-final and what a way to respond. We wanted to get a good start in the eights and get a bit of leeway between us and third-place and put a bit of pressure on Castleford.”
Tigers are eight points clear of second-placed Leeds with just six games to play, but Golding insisted: “Weirder things have happened in sport. That’s our goal, we’re not just trying to secure second. We are pushing and we want to keep Cas on their toes and maybe we can do something remarkable.”