Leeds Rhinos: Dual-registration is keeping Harry Newman on his toes

Harry Newman is congratulated by Kallum Watkins.
Harry Newman is congratulated by Kallum Watkins.

THE CONTROVERSIAL dual-registration system has a fan in Leeds Rhinos prospect Harry Newman.

The 19-year-old centre scored 16 tries in 12 games for Leeds’ Betfred Championship partner club Featherstone Rovers last year and has added five in four this term.

Harry Newman touches down against Hull FC.

Harry Newman touches down against Hull FC.

He says that ensured he was fully match fit and ready to go when called into Rhinos’ 17 for his first Super League appearance of 2019 against Hull last week.

Newman responded by scoring Leeds’ opening try and providing the pass for his winger Tom Briscoe to cross soon afterwards and believes he was more ready for the step up to Super League than he would have been from playing only at under-19s level.

“It has been good,” he said of his time with Rovers.

“I am keeping getting experience of playing at a higher level than academy and, with the physicality of it, it is making me a better player.”

I have just got to bide my time and, at some point, I will get my chance. I have just got to take it.

Harry Newman

Newman got his chance for Leeds last week when captain Kallum Watkins was sidelined by a knee injury.

He was due to be among the substitutes, but a late reshuffle – after Carl Ablett was ruled out following the warm-up – saw him called into the starting 13.

There are two world-class centres, Watkins and Konrad Hurrell, ahead of Newman in Rhinos’ pecking order and he admits that is a double-edged sword.

“I am learning a lot from them,” he said.

“I do a lot of extras with them and I’ll just keep learning and progressing.

“I have just got to bide my time and, at some point, I will get my chance. I have just got to take it.”

The 34-10 defeat at KCOM Stadium made it a night to forget for the team, but Newman was pleased with his contribution.

“I got the late call in the warm-up, I was due to be on the bench,” the England academy star recalled.

“I was still prepared to play and it was just exciting to get a start.

“I have been waiting for that for a while now so I was really happy.

“It was my first try for Leeds and hopefully I can kick on now.”

If he achieves his potential, his maiden Rhinos try will be the first of many at the elite level for the Huddersfield-born youngster.

Newman added: “I couldn’t have asked for a better start really, a try with my first touch and then an assist for Tom and I think I had a good overall game, but obviously the team comes first.

“We are struggling at the minute, but we are still confident we can do something this season. We are focusing on us and how we can improve and we will come back stronger this week.”

Rhinos have won just one of their opening six games going into tomorrow’s visit of London Broncos. And Newman insisted: “We have been showing signs all year.

“I think we are all confident we can turn it around.”