Over 750,000 students sit A-Levels each year. Not many play at the highest level for a Super League club alongside them though. That’s exactly why Leeds head coach Rohan Smith has heaped praise on Morgan Gannon this week.
Gannon, 18, is the son of former Australian prop Jim, who played for Widnes and Hull KR amongst others. He was born in Halifax in December 2003 just after his dad’s time playing for the now-Panthers.
His older brother Jacob, 19, is also involved in rugby league. Currently contracted with Warrington, he is yet to make a Super League appearance.
Morgan though has already made his mark at first-team level, and has now completed his A-Level exams.
“His last exam is today, and he’s extremely dedicated to his rugby league, so he won’t want to miss a day when he doesn’t have to,” Smith told Love Rugby League on Tuesday.
“The only reason that he’s missed a day during his exams is when he’s had one which has clashed with our training times. Even then, credit to him, he’s come in to catch up in the afternoon.
“Morgan’s got in and around the academy sessions at times too when he’s needed them. He’s just a quality young man taking charge of his own life in every possible way, which is a great example for all players in our youth system.”
Gannon gaining on and off the field
Gannon made his Rhinos debut last year against St Helens in the Challenge Cup. Under Richard Agar, he accumulated 13 appearances in total throughout 2021.
He has already accrued the same amount this term. And while the second-rower isn’t in contention for this Thursday’s game against Saints, boss Smith can’t wait to have him back.
He added: “Morgan got a bump against Warrington a few weeks ago, and he’s had to undergo the concussion protocols as well as navigating his way through Physics, Maths, and his other A-Levels.
“He’s not being considered to play this week based on his lack of consistent training and being such a young player coming off a head knock. We – as a group – feel that we’re taking care of his long-term health and preparation, they’re his priority.
“It’s a pleasure to be his head coach”
“He understands that and we look forward to getting him back in the mix. It’ll be good to see him. All I can say about Morgan is how he’s such a great young kid.
“He has a well-balanced head on his shoulders, he’s clearly very intelligent both on and off the pitch. I think he’s done some tremendous work both for the club and himself. It’s a pleasure to be his head coach.”
Gannon – along with the rest of those who have sat exams this month – will find out their A-Level results on August 18. Providing the results go his way, it’s fair to say that the 18-year-old may not celebrate as hard as some of his peers.
That’s because Leeds play the next day, welcoming Warrington to Headingley for the second time this season. On both fronts, we’re sure Gannon will be hoping his results are A-okay.