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Leeds Rhinos starlet Jack Sinfield could be set for Championship move

Jack Sinfield was one of the most senior Leeds Rhinos players in action against Bradford Bulls, such was the inexperience of the side, however, Rohan Smith has revealed that Sinfield and other youngsters could take up Championship loan moves to gain playing time.

It was Bradford’s last game of pre-season before they begin their 1895 Cup campaign and so Eammon O’Carroll sent out a strong side which was in stark contrast to Rohan Smith.

The Australian used the game as an opportunity to blood in young talent that has risen through the Leeds Rhinos system with plenty of academy players or academy graduates featuring.

Speaking to the Leeds Rhinos YouTube channel, Smith explained: “The thing with young kids is that you’re trying to blood them in and amongst an experienced team. That’s the best way to blood them but for a trial game, practice game like that then it’s great to get them all out there together and find out who’s who and they’ll be better for it.”

So whilst not an ideal situation to test out the talent of the future it was certainly a learning experience as the young Rhinos went down 34-8 against an impressive Bradford Bulls side.

However, Smith has revealed that playing the youngsters now is one of the few ways to blood them, given the lack of a strong reserves and/or academy competition. He even referenced potentially being forced to send young talent out to the Championship.

Jack Sinfield potentially one of Leeds Rhinos young guns to head to the Championship

Leeds Rhinos halfback Jack Sinfield

Leeds Rhinos halfback Jack Sinfield could be set for a loan spell in the Championship – Picture by Allan McKenzie/SWpix.comCopyright: x xSWpix.comxt/axPhotographyxHubxLtdxAllanxMcKenzie/SWpix.comx SWP-2278-0018

Sinfield featured in the halves alongside Corey Johnson with the two playmakers being among the most capped players in the squad, such was the inexperience of the side Leeds Rhinos sent to Odsal.

The son of Leeds Rhinos legend Kevin, Jack has big boots to fill and whilst he’s made 11 Super League appearances so far there has rarely been an opportunity for him.

Many of those appearances came late in 2023 when Aiden Sezer was injured and Blake Austin had been sent away on loan, and now with new signings Matt Frawley and Brodie Croft it would appear chances are again limited.

Given that situation and Smith’s openness about the necessity for his youngsters to earn game experience, he was asked if there was a chance Sinfield could head out on loan or link up with Halifax Panthers who Leeds Rhinos have a dual registration deal with.

Smith explained: “I think it’s a case-by-case scenario. We’re getting to that point this year and certainly in the years to come where we’re going to have a lot of young players that need that championship experience.

“Either that or we need a stronger reserves and academy program. Ideally, both and then you can choose case by case but the strength of the academy competition is not there.”

Specifically on Sinfield, he continued:

“So yeah, guys like Jack will take it case by case. They’re still young boys as well in lots of cases. Compared to player development in the NRL, the pre-season is much longer, so you get more time to develop players. So we’re not too phased by young players not playing too much at the start of the season and sort of continuing on their pre-season and using that as a development tool.

“Jack’s certainly developed and he’s improved again since last year. He’ll be in and around the first team when he’s required. He’ll get the relevant experience as and when we need to.”

It’s unclear where that “relevant experience” will come from but there’s a chance he could make the loan move to the Champ,  just as Riley Dean did for Featherstone Rovers in early 2023 which then set him up for Super League experience and now a move down under.

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