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Sunday, 21 September 2014

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Whitehaven teen Jared Stewart named in Leeds Rhinos Super League squad

Whitehaven teenager Jared Stewart has been handed a first-team squad number for Super League champions Leeds Rhinos next season – despite missing much of last term due to serious injury.

Jared Stewart photo
Jared Stewart

The 18-year-old has been allocated squad No 29, the same as last term, in a show of faith from boss Brian McDermott, and the back-rower plans to start to make his mark at senior level in 2012.

“I’m over the moon about it,” said Stewart, who is in his third year at Headingley.

“I have come back from injury and want to really push to play a few games. That’s the main focus.

“It’s up to myself really. If I can impress Brian I have the same chance as everyone else.”

Stewart missed much of the campaign after dislocating his shoulder playing for England Under-18s in France in June and later undergoing surgery.

He launched pre-season training this week with the likes of new signings Richard Moore and Darrell Griffin and plans to be fast out of the blocks next term.

“Brian Mac says we don’t want to start slow, like we did last year,” added Stewart.

“I have high hopes for the club.”

Like many prospects at top-flight clubs, he is prepared to consider leaving Leeds temporarily at some stage to gain first-team experience and return to the Rhinos a stronger player.

He said: “At this moment I’m focusing on getting back to full fitness. If there is an opportunity to play dual reg at a First Division club, by all means I will give it a go.”

McDermott said: “The club has always had a policy of awarding squad numbers based on performances from the previous season and all these players have earned their new numbers.

“Whilst the number does not guarantee them anything for the new season, it is recognition for the hard work and dedication they have shown.

“There are a number of players outside of the 25-man squad who are also looking to force their way into contention during pre-season and we have got good competition for places at present.”

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