'They're going nicely': Leeds Rhinos reserves to give under-18s play-off boost

Leeds Rhinos’ reserves fixture this week will be used to begin preparations for the under-18s play-offs.

By Peter Smith
Thursday, 4th August 2022, 4:00 pm

Rhinos are fourth in the academy table, two points behind Warrington Wolves, St Helens and Hull, but with a game in hand after last week’s clash with London Broncos was called off.

The reserves are sixth in their competition and take on seventh-placed Huddersfield Giants at Stanningley on Friday (7pm).

Rhinos have used loan players in their second string this season, but Chev Walker, who coaches the academy and reserves, confirmed the team to face Giants will be ‘all-Leeds”.

Jack Sinfield, pictured in Super League action away to Toulouse, could return for Rhinos' reserves on Friday. Picture by Manuel Blondeau/SWpix.com.

He said: “We are using pretty much the 18s, because their game last week was called off.

“We are trying to keep their game time going and I think [full-time squad member] Jack Sinfield will be back in the fold.

“He hasn’t played for a few weeks so it will be good for him to get a run out and have a crack.”

Walker said London had been ready to travel last week, but didn’t have a physio which meant the game couldn’t go ahead.

Rhinos' lower grades coach Chev Walker. Picture by Phil Daly/Leeds Rhinos/SWpix.com.

“They aren’t allowed to travel without one,” he said.

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“We had one here for them to use - not just our physio, they’d have had somebody separate - but the RFL said they couldn’t, so unfortunately it was cancelled.

“It was a lost opportunity for the kids, disappointing, but it is what it is.”

Rhinos’ reserves have won five of their nine fixtures so far and Friday’s game is a chance for Leeds’ teenagers to get a hit out at a higher level.

“They are going nicely and we are building towards the under-18s play-offs,” Walker added.

“It should do them some favours playing against older, better players.”

The reserves have two fixtures remaining after this week, away to Hull on Saturday, August 20 and at home against Wakefield Trinity two weeks later.

The academy are due to visit Newcastle Thunder on Sunday, August 14 before completing their regular season with a blockbuster home match against Warrington on Thursday, August 25, in a curtain-raiser to the Super League showdown between Rhinos and Huddersfield Giants.