Leeds Rhinos Youth Talent: NRL Interest Revealed by Former Coach

Leeds Rhinos’ Young Talents Attracting NRL Interest, Reveals Former Coach Rohan Smith

Former Leeds Rhinos head coach Rohan Smith has praised the exceptional young players within the club’s ranks, highlighting that some have already garnered interest from NRL clubs. Smith, who departed the Rhinos last month, spoke highly of the club’s talent pipeline, drawing comparisons to the success story of the Penrith Panthers in the Australian league.

“Some of the kids in the under-16s and the scholarship – there’s five or six kids there that are exceptional,” Smith remarked. “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, the Penrith Panthers have clinched the last three NRL Grand Final titles and currently sit second in the league standings, showcasing the rewards of nurturing young talent.

Smith revealed that the Rhinos’ young prospects have already caught the eye of Australian clubs, potentially explaining the club’s recent efforts to secure long-term deals for several academy players.

“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,” he said.

Among the young talents the Rhinos have tied down are Tom Nicholson-Watton, Riley Lumb, Presley Cassell, Marcus Qareqare, Ned McCormack, and Alfie Edgell, with two of them – Cassell and Qareqare – earning call-ups to the England Academy side.

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