Four players from the North East have made their Super League Academy debuts.
Alex Donaghy lined up for Leeds Rhinos with Nathan Clemmitt, Mark Roberts and Fergus Simpson all donning the Huddersfield Giants jersey for the first time in a recent U16s match between the two clubs at Stanningley ARLFC.
All four play for Cramlington Rockets and have enjoyed an unbeaten season with the Northumberland-based club’s U16s, completing the domestic treble in the process.
Having impressed for their club, all four have also featured for the Newcastle Thunder U16s Scholarship academy this season, taking on Super League academy and regional sides.
Given the opportunity to further their development, all four did not look out of place in a match won 52-0 by the Leeds side, Donaghy emerging from the bench to claim a second half brace of tries.
Despite heavy rain throughout the match, both teams were cheered on by a healthy contingent of Rockets players and staff who made the 250-mile round trip to mark the occasion.
“We are really proud to see all the lads take this opportunity” said Rockets U16s coach, Jordan Robinson.
“In a region like the North East there is definitely talent there so it is important to have a pathway.
“All four lads have worked hard in recent years and impressed at their club and in the Thunder Academy so it is a big boost for them, their teams and the region to see them run out in games like this.
“All of them did well and Alex even helped himself to two tries. It’s another memorable day for all involved and I am sure there are more to come.”