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Mulhern secures final spot in Rhinos' Super League squad

Leeds have given 20-year-old prop Rob Mulhern the final spot in their Super League squad for 2015, along with a new three-year contract.

Leeds have given 20-year-old prop Rob Mulhern the final spot in their Super League squad for 2015, along with a new three-year contract. Credit: Press Association

The Rhinos kept open the number 25 shirt when they announced their squad late last year but say the former Normanton youngster deserves the promotion after impressing in pre-season.

Mulhern, who made three Super League appearances last season and played for Ireland in the European Championship, is currently playing for Championship neighbours Hunslet on dual registration but is tipped for a bright future by Leeds coach Brian McDermott.

"Rob has impressed everyone at the club with his work rate and attitude over the last few years," McDermott said. "He will really benefit from playing in the Championship with Hunslet at the moment as he has only played for the Under-19s up until this point.<

"He is aware that he still has a lot of work to do but he has earned this recognition and I am looking forward to working with him for the next three years and hopefully beyond."

Mulhern, whose younger brother Frank plays for Leeds United, said: "Being awarded the 25 shirt for the squad numbers is the icing on the cake.

"There has obviously been a lot of chat about who would get it but I think it is great that the Rhinos reward their young players and give them a shot to prove themselves in Super League.

"I think that sends out a great message to all the young lads at the club and it has definitely given me plenty of confidence going forward to back myself."

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Birth of rugby in Leeds to be marked

A service to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the birth of rugby in Leeds, will be held today at Leeds Minster.

Both Leeds' main rugby teams play at Headingley Stadium Credit: Press Association

Expected to be among the congregation is the Leeds Rhinos first team squad , including new Aussie signing Adam Cuthbertson, who only arrived in the UK on Thursday evening.

Rhinos head coach Brian McDermott and England forward Jamie Jones Buchanan will speak at the service. The event will also remember the city's players who lost their lives in the First World War.

Kevin Sinfield honoured at Buckingham Palace

Kevin Sinfield is the most successful captain in Leeds Rhinos' history Credit: PA

Leeds Rhinos captain Kevin Sinfield has dedicated his MBE honour to his club following an investiture ceremony at Buckingham Palace. The sportsman is the most successful captain in Leeds Rhinos' history, leading them to six Grand Final victories in the last decade, three World Club Challenge triumphs and victory in the Challenge Cup this summer after six final defeats since 2000.

I would like to accept it on behalf of the club, really. So many people played a part in the success, over the last 10 years in particular. For me to get recognised is very humbling but like I said, I think it represents the club, all the players, our staff and the fans - it's been a great place to work and play for the last 10 years.

– Kevin Sinfield

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West Yorkshire derby for Peacock testimonial

Leeds Rhinos and Bradford Bulls are to play each other in the New Year to honour Jamie Peacock, who played for both the West Yorkshire clubs.

West Yorkshire derby for Peacock testimonial Credit: Press Association

The game will be on 25 January at Headingley stadium and could be the only time the clubs meet this season following the Bulls' relegation to the Championship.

Peacock won three Grand Finals, two Challenge Cups and two world club titles between 1999 and 2005 with Bradford before moving to his home town club in 2006. At the Rhinos he has continued his incredible run of success with five more Grand Final wins, two World titles and last year's Challenge Cup Final win.

As the last pre-season game before the Rhinos begin their Super League campaign, Head Coach Brian McDermott is expected to name a strong side.

Sutcliffe signs 3-year deal with Rhinos

Emerging half-back Liam Sutcliffe has signed a new three-year deal with Leeds.

Emerging half-back Liam Sutcliffe has signed a new three-year deal with Leeds. Credit: Press Association

The 19-year-old made his first-team breakthrough in the just-ended season, making 26 appearances and winning the Challenge Cup along the way.

The former Hunslet amateur is seen as one of the long-term successors to the current creative trio of Rob Burrow, Danny McGuire and Kevin Sinfield, who have formed the backbone of Leeds' era of success.

All have been mainstays over six title wins but - at 32, 31 and 34, respectively - will not be around for another decade and chief executive Gary Hetherington has spoken of a need for some continuity beyond the club's older heads.

As soon as Gary said the club would like to offer me a longer deal, I was more than happy to sign.

I grew up dreaming of playing for the Rhinos and there is no other club I want to play for. I liked the comments Gary made about building a squad for the future around our young players and that does give us a boost.

The squad will have a period of transition over the next few years and for all the squad to know the vision for us as a group is both reassuring and acts as motivation for us to carry on the great traditions of success over the last decade.

– Liam Sutcliffe

Liam has already shown he has all the qualities needed to succeed at the Super League level. He is still developing his natural game, but we saw last year that the foundations are definitely there.

– Brian McDermott, Leeds Rhinos coach

Leeds front rower signs four-year deal

Leeds Rhinos have given a new four-year contract to prop Brad Singleton, the man they believe can step into the shoes of Jamie Peacock and Kylie Leuluai.

Leeds Rhinos have given a new four-year contract to prop Brad Singleton Credit: Press Association

The 22-year-old Barrow-born Singleton is set to gain more game time in 2015 following the departure of Ryan Bailey and Ian Kirke and - with Peacock and Leuluai both due to retire in 12 months' time - is expected to become a key front rower with the Rhinos for years to come.

Leeds coach Brian McDermott said: "Brad has been around the first team for a number of years now but you can be guilty of forgetting that he has only just turned 22.

This season is a great opportunity for him to kick on with his career and show his worth to the squad.

He certainly has the abilities to succeed and now, with a long-term contract, hopefully he has the confidence to put that into practice and be a key part of the team next season.

– Brian McDermott, Leeds Rhinos coach

Singleton, who has been given a top-20 squad number, is excited by the challenge presented to him.

From an outsider's point of view, it is there for me. I have been here long enough and this is what I always wanted so it is up to me to grab this opportunity with both hands.

– Brad Singleton

Rhinos rule-out Ryan Brierley bid

Leeds Rhinos chief executive Gary Hetherington has ruled out the possibility of the club signing Leigh Centurions’ playmaker Ryan Brierley.

Leeds Rhinos Chief Executive Gary Hetherington says the club have no interest in signing Leigh's Ryan Brierley Credit: Press Association

Speculation had been mounting the Rhinos were preparing a bid for Brierley, who led the Championship for tries with 36 last season.

However, Hetherington says that the club are not looking for a new halfback.

The six-time Super League champions insist their policy has always been to develop and reward from within rather than sign from elsewhere.

Hetherington told the club’s official website: "I can categorically state that we have no interest in signing Ryan Brierley from Leigh Centurions.

"I can categorically state that we have no interest in signing Ryan Brierley from Leigh Centurions.

“The players' agent has contacted us to make us aware that Ryan wishes to join us but we are not looking to sign a half back as we have four top-class options in that position with Kevin Sinfield, Danny McGuire, Rob Burrow and Liam Sutcliffe for next season already and an outstanding prospect in our academy in Jordan Lilley.

“It is inevitable that we get linked with players through the media and I can assure our fans that, in almost every case, the rumour has no foundation.

“I have spoken to Centurions head of rugby Derek Beaumont and reassured him that we are not in the market for his player or any other half back for that matter. Our priority is to develop players through our ranks.

“We have always operated on a policy of reviewing players annually and elevating their contract to recognise the improvements they have made rather than when their contracts are due to expire and that is very much our focus at the moment rather than bringing players in from other clubs.”

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