It’s easy to forget that Morgan Gannon is just 18.
Son of former Halifax player Jim Gannon, Morgan’s name was talked about excitedly by those at Headingley going into 2021 along with Levi Edwards. Both just 17 at the time, the duo were being tipped for big futures at Headingley and both enjoyed a brief cameo at centre in the Rhinos’ lone pre-season friendly against Huddersfield.
He didn’t look out of place and was then thrown in at the deep end against St Helens in the Challenge Cup. Against the Champions, Gannon again looked right at home and continued to do so every time he played for the Rhinos in 2021 going from strength to strength becoming a key fixture at second-row often playing 80 in a real warzone against the likes of John Bateman and co.
In 2022 he’s continued his development and even added a try scoring element to his game grabbing a brace of tries last night against Hull KR as he was named Man of the Match.
His second try – the decisive one in the contest – was particularly impressive as he ran over 50 metres to score showing great pace to do so – something we’ve not previously seen from the backrower.
Those tries made it five in 19 games this season but many of those appearances have come from the bench.
His Man of the Match award wasn’t just because of his tries however with Jon Wells outlining the many stats that saw him pick up the award but we’ve taken a deeper dive into those stats to demonstrate the role he had on the win.
Wells noted his 80 minute stint, his 126 metres and his 30 tackles which were actually 32 in number. What’s impressive is five of those tackles were ‘marker tackles’ which meant he shut down the Hull KR attack down fast and was making consecutive tackles.
Him doing so in the second half supported by Sam Walters who also did this impressively in the second stanza was a key figure in turning up the heat on Hull KR and swaying the game in the Rhinos favour after it had been a seesaw contest till then.
His tally of five was the third highest total in the Leeds team which is especially impressive from a player defending out wide as it means he was able to drive Hull KR’s attack away from the danger zone down the flank and into the middle – again something Leeds did effectively in the second half.
Turning to his metres gain, his total was only one of six to surpass 100 on the night and was the fight highest on the night – again impressive for a player out on the fringe.
The most impressive thing about this is however that his average gain per carry was the highest on the field as he average 12 metres every carry which was joint with Zane Tetevano.
This shows just how tenacious he is when carrying the ball and demonstrates his ability to get Leeds on the front foot.
On a night when many feared Leeds could miss second-rowers Rhyse Martin and James Bentley, the maturity of the teenager demonstrated how he more than filled in not just by scoring twice but through his overall statistical performance.