New deals for Leeds quartet

Leeds have handed new deals to four products of their successful academy system, including England international Ryan Hall.

Hall, Ben Jones-Bishop, Chris Clarkson and Kallum Watkins have all put pen to paper to commit themselves to the club until at least the end of the 2014 season.

Much of the three-time Super League winning squad was built around players produced within the Headingley system and chief executive Gary Hetherington says the new deals are a signal of intent by the Rhinos to build a sustainable future for the club.

He said: “Last year we announced a four year vision for the club which included the redevelopment of the South Stand along with a new giant screen and pitch for the stadium. We said that we needed supporters to invest in the club so we could continue to invest in the squad to make sure that we have a world class facility and team to perform in it. We created the Rhinos 4 Life scheme which offered supporters a four year price freeze on their season ticket and it is apt that these four talented, young, local players will be at the heart of our squad over those four years.”

Hall has racked up 76 tries in his 90 first team appearances while Watkins made his debut at the age of just 16, lining up on the bench against Bradford on Sunday.

Jones-Bishop spent last season on loan at Harlequins but scored a hat-trick at the Magic Weekend and Clarkson went from being an apprentice bricklayer to a Wembley appearance, notching 18 appearances in his debut season last term.

Head Coach Brian McDermott said: “All four players have developed through the Rhinos Academy system and are a credit not only to themselves but their families and all those who have put in many hours down the years in the amateur and schools game here in Leeds. I am very proud that as a sport, Rugby League is able to attract young men of this calibre to our sport and that supporters who invest their hard earned money in the club know that they are directly contributing to keeping the best young players not just at their club but in our sport.”

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