TOP TRY scorer, Ash Handley, has agreed a new contract which will keep him at Leeds Rhinos until the end of the 2023 season.
The Leeds-born 23-year-old has scored 17 tries during the current campaign, including two when he made his 100th appearance for Rhinos in last week’s win at Huddersfield Giants. He is the third England Knights squad member to commit his future to the club into the next decade after full-back Jack Walker and centre Harry Newman.
“It is great to have my new deal finalised,” said the Oulton Raiders product who made his debut in 2014 and inherited the number five jersey from Ryan Hall last in the off-season.
“I am not someone who likes the negotiation process so I’m glad that’s all sorted and I have my future settled.”
Handley has been one of Rhinos’ leading lights during a difficult campaign, forming a powerful attacking partnership on their left flank with Tongan international centre Konrad Hurrell.
He added: “I am looking forward to being part of the future at the Rhinos and getting the club back to where it needs to be, winning trophies.
“This new group that is coming up has a great opportunity and I am looking forward to being part of it for the next four years.”
Despite Rhinos’ fight against relegation this year, Handley reckons the quality of young players in the squad – and academy prospects waiting to come through – means better times are ahead, potentially.
Walker signed a new contract two months ago which will see him remain a Leeds player until the end of 2023.
Newman’s latest deal, announced last month, is for the next three seasons.
Handley said: “Players like Harry Newman, Jack Walker and Cameron Smith are playing every week now and they are still 20 or under, so it’s exciting.
“Once they get a bit of experience under their belts and we grow together, I think we will go really well.”
Handley is fourth overall in the Betfred Super League try-scoring chart, four behind leader Niall Evalds.
Leeds director of rugby Kevin Sinfield – a former team-mate of Handley – said: “It is great news for the Rhinos that Ash has committed his future to the club It has been a privilege to see him develop into the player he has become and I am sure his best years are still ahead of him.
“To have amassed a century of appearances already at just 23 shows the consistency he has been able to produce so far and I look forward to him continuing to progress over the next four seasons.”