Leeds hand youngsters new deals

Super League Champions Leeds Rhinos have announced that young stars Luke Ambler and Chris Clarkson, both 20, have agreed new two year contracts with the club, keeping them at Headingley Carnegie until at least the end of the 2012 season.

Irish international prop Ambler joined the Rhinos at the start of last season from Super League rivals Salford but he had to wait until the current campaign to make his debut however the Halifax-born forward is in no doubt that he made the right move. He commented, “I always knew that last season was going to be a development year for me, that was what I agreed with the club when I came here and fortunately this season I have been able to reap the benefits of that with nine games already. I have played in some big games for the club like Wigan away, the Magic weekend and against Warrington and Saints in the last fortnight, and that gives you great self belief.

“I am fortunate to train and play alongside some fantastic guys. You can not help but be your best alongside people like Jamie Peacock, Kylie Leuluai, Ryan Bailey and Luke Burgess. They are always happy to give you advise and that drives you on. We have got a great bunch of young lads in the squad as well and it gives you a boost when you see the likes of Jay Pitts, Tom Bush, Chris Clarkson and Paul McShane leading the way out there. Hopefully, I can keep building now and the next two years will see me begin to fulfil my potential,” added Ambler.

The new contract for apprentice brick layer Chris Clarkson represents a chance to put his trade on hold and try to follow his Super League dream. Clarkson said, “I am really pleased to have agreed a new deal with the club and it means I don’t have to worry about combing work with my rugby for the time being. It has been great being part of the first team squad this season; the lads have been really welcoming and that makes a huge difference.”

Clarkson scored the opening try in the Rhinos dramatic 28-24 win over St Helens last Saturday after being named in the starting line up by Head Coach Brian McClennan. The loose forward, whose father Peter played professionally for Wakefield and Featherstone, commented, “It was great to start at loose forward. The coaching staff have been great with me and really encouraged me to play my natural game. I was a bit nervous but with every game I play, my confidence is growing.”

Head Coach Brian McClennan is delighted to have secured two of the club’s rising stars. He added, “Luke and Chris have done a fantastic job for the club this season and thoroughly deserve their new contracts. Both players have made their debuts this season and have shown the potential to build a career in Super League with the Rhinos. They are two honest young men who are a credit to their families and I am sure they will continue to learn and develop their game in the coming years to fulfil their own potential.”

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