Walker rejects Leeds contract offer

Leeds have confirmed Jack Walker has turned down the offer of a full-time contract with the Rhinos.

The three-year deal would have guaranteed the youngster a first team squad number for next season.

Walker has made six appearances for the Rhinos this season, scoring five tries and is set to play at Wigan on Friday.

Chief Executive Gary Hetherington said: “We offered Jack a full-time contract two months ago when he completed his studies at Leeds City College.

“We revisited it again last week because the lack of a commitment from Jack was becoming an issue within the squad and also affecting our planning for the future.

“This is obviously disappointing for us and unusual too, as I cannot think of any other player to turn down a promotion to the Rhinos first team squad from our Academy during my time at the club.

“Several of our senior players have spoken with Jack and I have personally met with him, his girlfriend and family to discuss the matter.

“However, Jack has made it clear that he wishes to only be considered for one position and has requested assurances that are never given to any player, irrespective of age and ability.”

Head Coach Brian McDermott said that while the club relies on its Academy to produce players for the first team, the organisation is bigger than the demands of one individual.

“So much of our club is built on the foundation nurtured through our Academy,” he said. “We recently announced that two such players, Danny McGuire and Rob Burrow, will bring down the curtain on their Rhinos career after 15 glorious years.

“The nature of our sport has meant that some players have also left the club during that period to seek better terms for themselves at other clubs, whether that is a starting position or financial reward.

“Clearly on each occasion that has been disappointing, but has enabled us to reward those who want to take the club forward and be successful at the Rhinos.”

Walker admitted that uncertainty over his playing position was behind his decision and he was keen to keep his options open on his future.

“Leeds have been great with me in every department and the fans are unbelievable and I’m enjoying playing for this great club,” he said.

“The offer I’ve received from the club is fantastic, but it doesn’t come down to money. It’s the opportunity to play at full-back, a position I feel brings the best out in me.

“The club has a great young full-back in Ashton Golding who is only two years older than me and who recently signed a four year deal, so I need to look at my future and make the right call on my career going forward.”

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