Teenager Morgan Gannon thrilled with latest Leeds Rhinos milestone
It won't linger long in the memory of most fans or players, but Leeds Rhinos’ golden point defeat of Wakefield Trinity was an unforgettable milestone for young substitute Morgan Gannon.
The 17-year-old made his third Rhinos appearance and was on the winning side for the first time in Betfred Super League.
Described by coach Richard Agar as a “shining light” in an otherwise scrappy Leeds performance, Gannon regards it as another important step on a steep learning curve.
“It’s massive,” the forward said of last week’s 15-13 result which ended a five-game losing run.
“Obviously we made it difficult for ourselves with a few unforced errors and penalties, but a win’s a win and I was happy to get it.”
Gannon came into the matchday 17 after back-rowers James Donaldson and Bodene Thompdon were ruled out through injury.
“We were leaving it until Thursday,” he said.
“I sort of had an inkling I was going to play and then I found out I was going to play in the middle just before kick-off.
“I was pretty excited just to get into it, playing in the middle.”
Gannon joined the action from the bench in the first half, at a time when Wakefield led 8-0 and Rhinos were struggling to get a grip on the game.
That was an indication of how highly Agar rates a youngster who has stepped straight up from Siddal under-16s.
“I was really happy to get a lot more minutes,” Gannon added.
“I played about 20 in my first game and then 15.
“I think I played about 35 minutes which definitely gives me a lot of confidence going forward, that I can do that stint in the middle.”
Even in the matches Rhinos have lost, Gannon has been gaining valuable experience.
“With the injuries and things like that, I’ve had different players around me every time I’ve played,” he said.
“I have had a lot to learn off each person.
“[Last week] was my first game with Galey [Luke Gale] and his calm and his presence definitely helped a lot.”
Gannon revealed he is also receiving individual coaching in aspects of the game from Agar.
“Rich has been really good, “ he added.
He has been a bit more individual with me, tipping me up and things like that.
“It has been a bit more personalised, which is really good.”
Though a host of senior players are due back from the casualty list over the next few weeks, Gannon is hopeful of gaining more game time.
“I have got a taste of it now,” he said.
“I definitely want to get more, hopefully I’ll do that by the end of the year, if I do a good job.”
Gannon’s next appearance, whenever it comes, will be a different experience, with supporters in the ground.
“I have not played in front of fans yet,” he said.
“It will be good to play in front of the South Stand at Headingley.
“It will be exciting to experience that.”
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