Sky's the limit for Leeds Rhinos youngster Levi Edwards says Batley Bulldogs boss Craig Lingard
Leeds Rhinos have unearthed a future Super League star in teenager Levi Edwards, according to Batley Bulldogs boss Craig Lingard.
The 17-year-old has played twice on loan at Batley and Lingard reckons he already looks comfortable going up against seasoned professionals at Betfred Championship level.
Rhinos have high hopes for the former Batley Boys junior, who was promoted straight from the scholarship into the full-time squad at the end of last season.
After impressing against promotion contenders Toulouse Olympique in his professional debut, the centre scored two tries and was man of the match when Bulldogs won at Dewsbury Rams last week.
“I’ve been very impressed,” Lingard said.
“He played against Toulouse - who are a full-time outfit and effectively a Super League side already - and as a 17-year-old kid, he didn’t look out of place against them.
“Then he came up against Dewsbury and the two tries he scored were outstanding; skill, pace and good footwork and he hit a really good line for the first one.
“I think he is benefitting from the first team environment, rather than playing against kids his own age.
“It can only benefit him, benefit us and benefit Leeds, so I think it is a decent agreement we’ve got there at the moment.”
Lingard believes Edwards has a big future at the top level.
“I think so,” he said.
“In terms of his rugby league ability, he has.
“He has certainly got something about him, you could tell in the his first game, against Toulouse.
“Against some people who’ve played a lot of first team rugby, Super League rugby, international rugby , he didn’t look out of place - not as a 17-year-old, as a rugby league player.
“If he keeps doing what he’s doing and keeps on this upward trajectory, I think the sky’s the limit for him.
“It’s down to him, it’s what he wants to get out of the game and how far he wants to go, because he has certainly got all the ability in the world.”
Edwards is following in the footsteps of Rhinos clubmate Jack Broadbent, who cut his teeth on loan at Bulldogs before breaking through into Super League.
Broadbent made his debut last year and was a regular for Rhinos in 2021 before suffering a long-term ankle injury in a win at Warrington Wolves two weeks ago.
Lingard added: “Hopefully we can keep Levi until the end of the season and get him some games against grown men in the Championship, similar to what we did with Jack Broadbent a couple of years back.
“You can see how much that benefited him.
“I think it helps even more when they are a local lad. Both Levi and Jack played for Batley Boys so there’s that direct link there as well. It helps to get more interest around the local area for us.”
Edwards is one of three Rhinos players on loan with Batley.
“Oli Field played against Toulouse and Oli Burton played against Toulouse and Bradford as well,” Lingard noted.
“That’s two more young kids in the Leeds set up.
“The kids that come to us from Leeds have a great attitude and you can tell they come from a decent school and great coaching.
“Everything they bring to training is first class, so whatever they do over at Leeds, it is certainly working and we’ve benefited from that over the last two or three weeks.”
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