After struggling for success for over 30 years, Leeds built one of the greatest rugby league dynasties ever when they won eight Super League titles in just 14 seasons thanks to a golden generation of home grown players .
Since the retirement of Rob Burrow in 2017 and the departure of Danny McGuire that same year on the back of Grand Final glory, the Rhinos have struggled to force their way back into the upper echelons of Super League once more.
There are indicators that Leeds could soon be back in the Grand Final picture, however. They’ve recruited well ahead of 2022 and have plenty of exciting youngsters coming through. Over the last two years, Leeds have given debuts to the likes of Jack Broadbent and Morgan Gannon who most certainly look like the stars of the future and the Rhinos appear set to continue developing exciting youngsters over the next few years based on the quality currently in the Leeds academy.
This week the Rhinos added more exciting young players to their academy when they welcomed new faces to their scholarship team ahead of next year. But, amongst these new faces were some familiar names.
Leeds gave scholarships to two sons of players involved in the golden generation. Joseph Diskin, son of 2004 Harry Sunderland winner Matt, and Lore Jones-Buchanan, son of Jamie who spent 20 years playing for the Rhinos ending his career at the end of 2019 with seven Grand Final wins to his name, both joined the Rhinos after playing for Dewsbury Moor and Stanningley .
Both Diskin and Jones-Buchanan were pillars of Leeds’ success from 2004-17 and now their sons are looking to follow in their footsteps. But what is truly bizarre is the fact they only become the fourth and fifth Leeds youngsters to join the Rhinos academy who are sons of former Leeds players.
Yesterday, Leeds revealed their squad numbers ahead of 2022 and handed the number 32 shirt to Jack Sinfield, son of legendary skipper Kevin. Young Jack caught the eye for the Under 16s and Under 17s last year before being handed a first senior contract ahead of next season. He wasn’t the only young Rhino to be handed a first senior squad number either. Oli Field was given the number 31 shirt and what is truly remarkable is the fact he is also the son of a former Rhino being the son of Jamie Field who played for Leeds from 1995-97.
Meanwhile, another youngster in the Leeds academy is the son of an ex-Leeds player. Young forward Joe Gibbons is the son of David Gibbons who played for Leeds in the very first Super League campaign back in 1996.
There seems to be an amazing number of players with this kind of background currently in Super League. The aforementioned Morgan Gannon is son of former Huddersfield player Jim Gannon, whilst at Wigan Ellery Hanley’s son Umyla Hanley shone in 2021 and of course Leon Pryce’s son Will made his Super League debut last term. Even Keith Mason’s son has just been given a scholarship at Wigan.
These young men should be proud of themselves for how far they’ve come already but it seems there’s an exciting future ahead for Leeds and for Super League.