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Ward set for Rhinos debut

Leeds Rhinos youngster Stevie Ward, 18, says he is excited to become the next member of the club's illustrious academy system to make his Super League debut after being named in Brian McDermott's squad to face St Helens this Sunday.
Ward set for Rhinos debut
by NRL

Leeds Rhinos youngster Stevie Ward, 18, says he is excited to become the next member of the club's illustrious academy system to make his Super League debut after being named in Brian McDermott's squad to face St Helens this Sunday.

Morley-born Ward has been tipped for the top ever since impressing as a schoolboy in the Leeds amateur scene and was promoted to the first team squad this season. He still combines training with studying for his A Levels which has drawn comparisons with Rhinos skipper Kevin Sinfield.

Looking ahead to Sunday's game, Ward said, "I am really looking forward to the game. St Helens will be very tough and they will be really up for this game because of everything that has happened to them so far this season. We will go there looking to get the job done but we know it is going to be very tough."

Ward joined his team mates this week at Leeds City College's Thomas Danby campus to get his hair dyed red in aid of Sport Relief and he admits that the legacy of his red mohawk haircut could last a long time. He said, "It has crossed my mind that all the pictures of my debut will have me with this daft haircut but it is for a great cause and all the boys were getting involved so I am happy to make that sacrifice if it means people will sponsor us and we can help the great work that Sport Relief do."

Ward is currently in his second year of his A-level studies at Woodkirk High School Sixth Form studying English Language and Literature as well as PE. He commented, "The school have been great with me. They let me take time off if I need to get to training or for a match plus I have been training with the first team squad recently. Sometimes it is a drag getting myself there for classes but it is an important part of my life and I want to make sure I get my A-levels so I can make other choices later on."

The former Churwell Chiefs-amateur has said that he takes a great deal of inspiration from the Rhinos record breaking captain Kevin Sinfield, who made his debut when he was also a teenager. He added, "Kev has been great for me. When you first start training with the first team you think to yourself 'should I be here?' But the guys are great they make you feel part of the squad. It is a compliment to be compared to Kev and it does add a bit of pressure but he is always there to tip me up and give me advice. He is an awesome player and I will do my best to be able to have a career like his."

Ward played his final year as an amateur at Hunslet Warriors and he was courted by a number of Super League clubs but his heart was always set on joining the Rhinos. He added, "Playing at Churwell, there is a lot of guys who come through at Leeds like Carl Ablett, Nick Scruton and Lee Smith. My dad played for Salford Boys but I always wanted to play at Headingley Carnegie and I could never imagine playing there as an opposition player."

The 19 man squad in full is:

1. Brent Webb
2. Ben Jones-Bishop
3. Kallum Watkins
4. Zak Hardaker
5. Ryan Hall
6. Danny McGuire
7. Rob Burrow
8. Kylie Leuluai
10. Jamie Peacock
12. Carl Ablett
13. Kevin Sinfield (c)
14. Lee Smith
15. Brett Delaney
17. Ian Kirke
18. Chris Clarkson
20. Darrell Griffin
21. Richard Moore
24. Liam Hood
25. Stevie Ward




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