Leeds youngster on list of sporting stars to watch in 2023

Morgan Gannon Leeds Rhinos SWpix Credit: Alamy
Morgan Gannon Leeds Rhinos SWpix Credit: Alamy

He might have missed out on Leeds’ unlikely appearance in the 2022 Super League Grand Final against St Helens.

But the future is clearly bright for Morgan Gannon, who only turned 19 at the beginning of December.

With already 38 first team appearances under his bet, including 25 last season, he’s already building the experience to go with what has been called an old head on young shoulders.

Unfortunately, a head knock sustained in the play-off win over Catalans ruled him out of a maiden appearance at Old Trafford.

Gannon was included on the Press Association’s list of 10 young stars to watch in 2023, alongside the likes of breakthrough England cricketer Rehan Ahmed, England rugby union winger Henry Arundell and growing tennis prospect Jack Draper.

It read: “Gannon has made a meteoric rise since making his Leeds Rhinos debut in 2021 and his progress is set to continue under coach Rohan Smith. Originally a back-rower, Gannon has been training at stand-off, hinting at even more of an impact in Super League in 2023.”

Morgan Gannon is a very talented player

Morgan Gannon is the son of former Halifax, Huddersfield and Widnes prop Jim, while Morgan’s brother Jacob has recently moved from Warrington to Leigh.

While he has impressed in the back-row position, Gannon has also hit the headlines over the festive period having been named at stand-off in Leeds’ Boxing Day defeat to Wakefield.

Coach Rohan Smith revealed that he had been trying the youngster in the playmaking position and that he has the attributes to succeed.

Smith told the Yorkshire Evening Post recently: “He played in the halves as a young kid coming through and when he grew, as we tend to do as coaches, we move them to the forwards if they get big or to the halves if kids grow past them.

“I see Morgan as having a really diverse, broad range of skills and a lot of rugby league awareness.

“He is a clever kid, on and off the field so we are just giving him an opportunity to show what he has got, to understand a different position and potentially play there should the opportunity or need arise during the season.”

Gannon could provide cover for first choice half-back pairing Blake Austin and Aidan Sezer, and he marked his first Rhinos outing at stand-off with a try in the 38-20 defeat to Trinity.

But it is surely in the back-row that Gannon’s long-term future lies and he’ll no doubt be in the reckoning for an England spot then the 2025 World Cup comes around in France.

Other sporting stars to look out for in 2023: Funmi Fadoju (netball), Richard Mansell (golf), Rehan Ahmed (cricket), Maya Le Tissier (football), Henry Arundell (rugby union), Jack Draper (tennis), Joe O’Connor (snooker), Keely Hodgkinson (athletics), Caroline Dubois (boxing)

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