Morgan Gannon: Leeds Rhinos' teenage star 'still learning' a year on from his debut

Almost a year on from his debut, teenager Morgan Gannon reckons he is “going all right”, but still very much in the learning stage of his Leeds Rhinos career.

By Peter Smith
Tuesday, 5th April 2022, 6:00 am

At 18, the England Knights forward is the youngest player to have featured for Rhinos this term.

Gannon was called up for the first time into an injury-hit squad which lost a BBC-televised Betfred Challenge Cup tie at St Helens on April 10 last year.

With only one win from eight competitive games so far, this season has been even harder, but Gannon reflected: “I think I am going all right.”

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Morgan Gannon. Picture by Tony Johnson.

He said: “I know I can do better, but it is a tough one with us not going so well.

“It was tough last year, but a different situation.

“Some of the defeats we’ve had this year are uncharacteristic, not what we are about.”

Gannon has started in four of his seven games during 2022, but was a substitute in last Friday’s 26-0 home defeat by Saints.

Morgan Gannon with Castleford's Greg Eden after Rhinos' recent Cup defeat. Picture by Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com.

That was his 20th appearance for Leeds and he said: “I don’t think I changed the game, but I thought I came on and did my job.

“I am content, but I am striving for more.

“For me, coming off the bench, I am young and I want to come on and bring some energy. Coming into a game, that’s my goal.

“I have played a lot of games this year and last year, so it’s going all right.”

Morgan Gannon at training. Picture by Phil Daly/Leeds Rhinos/SWpix.com.

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From a team perspective, Gannon admitted the loss to Saints was a “tough one to take”, but felt there were positive signs.

“We were in it for a lot of the game,” he recalled.

“There was an intercept and a soft try we let in; it was one of those when some big moments defined it, but we were happy with the improvement we showed.

“Obviously we want to be winning, but I think that performance was an improvement and it puts us on the right track going forward.”

Rhinos conceded two unconverted tries inside the opening quarter, but the next score didn’t come until 15 minutes into the second period, when Tommy Makinson raced 80 metres after snatching a Leeds pass close to Saints’ line.

“Defensively we looked a lot stronger and it too them a bit more to break us,” Gannon said.

“Even then, it was just a one-off error that let them in.

“It is definitely more positive going forward.”

With Betfred Super League taking a break this weekend for the Challenge Cup quarter-finals, Rhinos - who were knocked out by Castleford Tigers in the previous round - have no game for another nine days.

Gannon pledged: “It gives us some time to go back and sort some things out.

“When we’ve had short turnarounds we’ve not really had time to do that.

“It gives us time to work on stuff and we’ve got plenty to work on, so it has come at a decent time for us.”

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