Leeds Rhinos: Talented Rhinos quartet to spend next season at Featherstone

Thomas Minns
Thomas Minns
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FOUR LEEDS Rhinos players will spend next season at Featherstone Rovers.

FOUR LEEDS Rhinos players will spend next season at Featherstone Rovers.

Rhinos today confirmed 20 year olds Mason Tonks, Jordan Baldwinson and Thomas Minns will be linking up with Rovers, alongside Alex Foster, 21. The group, who were all contracted to Rhinos for next year, have officially signed at Rovers on one-year deals, but are due to return to Leeds ahead of the 2016 campaign.

Back-rower Foster spent 2014 on a similar arrangement at London Broncos, after making eight substitute appearances for Rhinos in 2013. Centre Minns, who played three times for Rhinos last year, was also a member of Broncos’ 2014 squad.

Forwards Baldwinson – who made two Rhinos appearances in 2013 – and Tonks both left Leeds a year ago to join New Zealand Warriors, but returned early and finished the season on loan at Bradford Bulls.

All four will officially join Rovers on December 3 and Baldwinson and Tonks could play for Rhinos under-19s against a touring Australian Schoolboys side at Headingley Carnegie the previous evening.

Rhinos chief executive Gary Hetherington said: “For next season we will have a first team squad of 25 and a partnership with Hunslet Hawks who will have access to those players through dual registration.

“We also have a group of outstanding young players, which includes Jordan Baldwinson, Mason Tonks, Alex Foster and Thomas Minns, who all aspire to be in the Rhinos’ first team squad in 2016.

“These lads will be a big asset to Featherstone in what will be a tough and competitive Championship next season.

“At the end of the day, the most important factor is the personal development of each player and we at Leeds Rhinos want to see all our young players playing in the best competition and going on to enjoy a career in the professional game.”

The Leeds players were due to attend an open-day at Featherstone this morning.

Rovers coach Andy Hay – who is a former Leeds player – said: “I would like to thank Leeds and in particular Gary Hetherington for allowing these players to join Featherstone Rovers.

“I am looking forward to working with this outstanding, young and talented quartet of players and hopefully playing a big part in their development next season.”

He added: “Having spoken to all four of the boys, they are fully committed to everything we will be doing next year and are prepared to give their all in a Rovers shirt in what will be a tough Championship competition.

“Mark Campbell(Rovers’ chairman) and I have been working very hard behind the scenes to build a competitive squad for 2015 and with the addition of such quality players we feel Featherstone will be pushing for the top once again.”