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.”