Home-town boy to stick with Rhinos

Last updated at 14:00 05 August 2004

Leeds youngster Richie Mathers has agreed a new two-year contract with the Rhinos.

The 20-year-old had been out of contract at the end of the season but has now committed himself to his home-town club until 2006.

Mathers has made 35 appearances for the Rhinos, mostly at full-back, since making his debut in 2002 and is now a regular in the Tetley's Super League leaders' side.

Mathers said: "There was never any question in my mind that I wanted to stay at Leeds. I'm a Leeds lad, as are most of the team, and I want to hopefully be part of this team for a long time to come.

"It's nice to have got it out of the way now so I can concentrate on the remainder of the season and then the play-offs.

"It's been a massive year for me so far and it has come a lot quicker than I could ever have anticipated but I just want to keep learning from what Tony (Smith, Rhinos coach) has to tell me and hopefully keep on improving."

Mathers has played in 18 of the Rhinos' last 19 games and his form led to the early release of veteran Gary Connolly, who rejoined Wigan earlier in the season.

Smith said: "I'm delighted Richard has extended his contract. Anybody who has watched him this season will know how much he has developed and he has all the qualities to be a top-class player over the coming years.

"The news of his agreement will be a great boost for both the Rhinos and Richard himself."