Castleford lad heading to Auckland

Mason Tonks.
Mason Tonks.

New Zealand Warriors have signed Castleford born and raised Mason Tonks from Leeds Rhinos Academy.

The former Castleford High Academy and Smawthorne Panthers player will be joined by Rhinos team-mate Jordan Baldwinson on a two-year deal with the Auckland club, starting in November.

The pair will play under New Zealand legend Stacey Jones in the Warriors’ under 20s side after turning down three-year contracts with Leeds and interest from Australian clubs.

They were targeted by former Rhinos coach Dean Bell who is now working as the Auckland club’s football operations manager.

Second-row forward Mason,18, joined the Rhinos academy in 2011. He played for the club’s under 20s and has also been involved with the first-team squad this year.

Mason, who is full of praise for his time with Leeds said: “It’s a big move leaving home, my family and friends but I’m really looking forward to the challenge in New Zealand.

“I spent time in Australia three years ago as part of a school exchange programme. I really enjoyed that and the profile rugby league has in the Southern Hemisphere.”