James Bentley completes boyhood dream with Leeds move

Josh McAllister
James Bentley

James Bentley says playing for Leeds is something he’s dreamed about since he was a kid.

The back-rower makes the move to his hometown club on a two-year deal from St Helens, where he has spent the last four seasons.

Bentley, 24, joined St Helens from Bradford ahead of the 2018 season, and has enjoyed a successful stint at the Totally Wicked Stadium.

He won the club’s Young Player of the Year award in 2020, and is now looking to bring that experience to Leeds in what is a dream come true. 

James Bentley on childhood dream

“It’s probably the day I’ve dreamt of since I was a kid to be able to wear this shirt,” Bentley said, after the club revealed he will wear shirt number 11 in 2022.

“I can’t wait until next year to get to pull it on and run out there in front of the fans.

“There’s been some big players that have wore that shirt in the past. I can’t wait to get it on my back and get out there and do it proud. And hopefully do those players who have worn it in the past proud as well.

“I’ve learned a lot from the passed four years at Saints. 

“We won three in a row and I learned from all those players. I’m hoping to bring some of that with me and hopefully bring the success to here. 

“It would make it even more special to win a competition for the team I’ve grown up supporting.”

“I’m buzzing for it”

On his move to the Rhinos, he added: “It’s very special. Especially for all my family, my dad is made up. He’s not stopped talking about it. 

“I think it’ll be the first time he’ll buy a shirt with my name on. We all can’t wait. I’m buzzing for it.”

Bentley also provided an injury update, receiving a huge boost ahead of pre-season. 

“We’ve got good news on my back,” he said. 

“Hopefully I can get back into it now and get into my training. We can get that all sorted and get as fit as I can and ready for next year. 

“We’re making sure we’re getting everything right with it. We don’t want any hiccups. All the staff here are looking after me and want to make sure we get it right so that I have a good, long season.”

Elsewhere in rugby league

York have confirmed the signing of former Super League centre Jack Logan for the 2022 Championship campaign.