PROUD AS punch academy boss Rob Burrow reckons Leeds Rhinos’ top youngsters have come of age.
Nine Rhinos players featured for Yorkshire Academy when they gave Australian Schoolboys a huge fright before losing 30-22 at the Jungle, Castleford, this week.
Three of Yorkshire’s four tries were scored by Leeds players with prop Tom Holroyd opening their account and centre Jack Broadbent bagging a second-half brace. The white rose side led 16-4 early in the second half, before three tries in five minutes got Australia back in the game and Burrow was hugely encouraged by the way Leeds’ teenagers performed.
“I was proud as punch of them,” said the eight-time Grand Final winner who took over as Rhinos’ academy boss a year ago. “There’s no bigger test to know where you are at at that age than against the best team in the world.
“The Schoolboys are unbelievable when it comes down to how good they are at that age and for them [the Leeds players] to test themselves against them was great.
“It was predominantly a Leeds team and I thought the lads who stood out were all Leeds lads, which is pleasing. In my early days coaching it is hard to place where they are at, having been a first-team player for so long and surrounded by people of quality, but having seen them against the best in the world, they are in a great place.”
Burrow felt substitute prop Muizz Mustapha was the pick of the Yorkshire side.
“He could have played himself into an England spot with that performance,” Burrow said. “But right across the board the lads were good.
“Loui McConnell was good in contact, certainly in defence and it was nice to see Callum McLelland show glimpses of class. He has been really good in training with the first team. Liam Whitton came in late on and wasn’t out of place and Tom [Holroyd], Owen [Trout], Jack [Broadbent], Tyler [Dupree] and Corey [Johnson] all did really well.”
McClelland, Holroyd, Trout, Johnson and Dupree have all been given Super League squad numbers quad and Burrow added: “They’ve been training well with the first team. It’s good for them up in that environment.”