NEW DAD Ashton Golding says he will give 100 per cent for Leeds Rhinos whenever and wherever he is asked to play for them.
Golding has lost his number one jersey – which he held for two seasons – to Jack Walker and is understood to be among the players Rhinos would be prepared to release if an opportunity came up at another club.
But the 22-year-old Stanningley product has never made any secret of his desire to play for Rhinos and insisted his enthusiasm remains as strong as ever as preparations step up for Leeds’ new campaign which begins away to Warrington Wolves in a month’s time.
“There’s a lot of speculation every year,” Golding said.
“Everyone said Rob Burrow [former Leeds player and now academy coach] was going to Castleford every year!
“I am very comfortable in what I need to do. I have got a clear goal and a clear mind.”
I am paid to play rugby league and if that means I have got to go to work on the wing one week and full-back the next, so be it.Ashton Golding
He stressed: “You have got to strip it back, at the end of the day I am a rugby league player, I am paid to play rugby league and if that means I have got to go to work on the wing one week and full-back the next, so be it.
“If one week I am required to go to hooker I’ll do it, all for the badge on my chest.
“I am a big believer that no man’s bigger than the team. I will get on with what I have to do, if the boss tells me to go to work on the wing I will give it 100 per cent.”
Walker is set to start the season as first-choice full-back, but Ryan Hall’s departure to Australia has left a vacancy on the left-wing.
Ash Handley, Luke Briscoe and Harry Newman are other contenders for that position and Golding played there in the second half of the Boxing Day win over Wakefield Trinity.
“In the middle the margin for error is greater,” Golding said.
“You can make a slight error and get away with it, but on the wing an error is more noticable.
“To be able to come away from the game having contributed positively to the team, I was quite happy with that performance.
“Going forward I have to work harder, keep pushing hard and hopefully get more minutes.”
He added: “With regards to full-back, it is never over.
“Jack knows that. One bad week and I could be in and with a few good performances I could be stringing a few together like he did last year.
“I am going to give my all to reclaim [the spot], but going forward it is all up for grabs on that wing.
“Equally, any position on that field, if you are not performing somebody’s there ready.”
Golding reckons Cameron Smith, who started at loose-forward in the Christmas game was an example of that and a player who could make an impact this year.
“He has been chomping at the bit and pushing everybody in front of him hard,” Golding said.
“Now it is down to them to chase him. In my opinion, I think he is good enough and he is ready.
“This year he could be up there as one of, if not the, best young players.
“The work he goes through and everything he does is testament to his mentality.
“The way off the field he conducts himself, he lives and breathes rugby league.
“Some people have a rest from it, but he doesn’t. He knows to get something you have to work hard and he is working really hard.
“It’s credit to him and the people around him.”
December was an eventful month for Golding. His partner Gabby gave birth to their first child, Roman, in the lead-up to Christmas and Golding said: “He was a nice little Christmas present. He is a true blessing, me and Gaby have been together for a while now, we’ve moved in together and it’s looking good.”