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Leeds Rhinos extend young international forward’s deal

James McDonnell didn't feature due to an injury picked up in training.

Leeds Rhinos have done yet more business as they’ve announced the extension of James McDonnell’s contract, adding a further year on meaning he’ll remain with the club until 2025.

The forward had a strong year despite the Rhinos failing to make the Super League play-offs and he now looks set for another two top seasons at Headingley.

McDonnell had joined the club last season from Wigan but his impressive campaign in which he starred in 24 games has seen him earn an extension already.

Rohan Smith’s side confirmed the news today on the Irish international’s 24th birthday, sharing a statement from their website.

It read: “Leeds Rhinos forward James McDonnell, who turned 24 today, has signed a new one year contract extension that will keep him at AMT Headingley until at least the end of the 2025 Betfred Super League season.

“McDonnell joined the Rhinos last season from Wigan Warriors on an initial two-year deal, having come through the academy ranks at his home town club. Last season he impressed in Rohan Smith’s side as a consistent performer in his 24 games, scoring four tries.”

Commenting on his new contract, the Irish international said, “I am pleased to have got my contract sorted before the start of the season and it means I can focus on the next two years. When I came to Leeds, I backed myself to get more game time and I am really pleased with how last season went. I think that experience will be good for me as I look to build on what I achieved in 2023. The one-year extension works well for me and the club, it gives me security and it is a reward for how well last season went. I back myself to improve each year, I think the length of the contract reflects that, and if I can do that again this year then hopefully I can put pen to paper for even longer at Leeds.”

Leeds Rhinos Head Coach Rohan Smith added, “James is an impressive individual who has really made Leeds his home since signing for the club. For a Wigan lad to decide to leave his home town club and commit to being at the Rhinos speaks volumes about his determination to succeed and push himself. He is a valuable member of our squad who makes those important, but often unseen by outsiders, sacrifices for his team mates. I am delighted he has agreed to an extension and I look forward to working with him to continue to improve over the next two years and hopefully beyond that point.”

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