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Rohan Smith reveals ‘NRL interest’ in young Leeds Rhinos stars

Young Leeds Rhinos stars

Rohan Smith has praised the young talents that Leeds Rhinos have in their ranks, and has revealed that some have had interest from NRL.

Recently, players such as Tom Nicholson-Watton and Riley Lumb have made their Super League debuts for the Rhinos, who recently tied a number of young players down to long-term deals.

Two of these players were named for England’s Academy side yesterday: loose-forward Presley Cassell was handed a five-year deal while centre Marcus Qareqare, brother of Castleford Tigers man Jason.

Further to these, another thirteen academy players were given deals, including Ned McCormack and Alfie Edgell.

It seems that it’s not just the Rhinos that see the quality in their young players, however.

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Rohan Smith: young Leeds Rhinos stars ‘already contacted by NRL clubs’

Leeds Rhinos

Credit: Imago Images

Speaking to The Yorkshire Evening Post, former Leeds Rhinos head coach Rohan Smith – who left the club last month – praised the young players that the club has in its ranks.

He said: “Some of the kids in the under-16s and the scholarship – there’s five or six kids there that are exceptional.

“The club is in a very strong position, but it takes time to build a home-grown team. It took Penrith seven or eight years to get a Premiership on the back of their process, now they can’t stop winning it.”

Indeed, Penrith Panthers have won the last three NRL Grand Finals and currently sit in second place in the NRL table.

Leeds Rhinos player Riley Lumb

Credit: Imago Images

He continued: “It is an exciting possibility, but also it is a new regime so their perspective on things may be different to what Gary (Hetherington, Rhinos’ chief executive) and I have spoken about every day for the past two years.”

He went on to reveal that some of the young talents have received interest from Australia – potentially the reason the club have tied so many down to long-term deals.

He said: “There’s a lot of young kids there who are very good and have already been contacted by NRL clubs and have got NRL interest, so to secure their future in the club long-term is testament to them thinking it was the best way to develop their career.”

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