Jamie Jones-Buchanan insists Leeds’ current squad has another trophy winning season left in it, despite the criticism from some quarters that the Rhinos need to renew an ageing squad.
In 2014 the Rhinos won the Challenge Cup for the first time since 1999, but then fell away badly and were bundled out of the play-offs in the first week by Catalans Dragons.
“I think we can continue to win trophies,” said Jones-Buchanan.
“When we won three Super League titles in a row from 2007 to 2009, but then didn’t win anything in 2010, people were asking then whether we were an ageing squad that had burnt itself out.
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“But after that we won the Grand Final twice again, even though we finished fifth in the table. And this year we won the Challenge Cup, even if we did it in a boring fashion.
“The thing about our club is that we have a group of professionals who have the humility to recognise that when they can’t contribute any more towards winning another trophy, they will put their hand up and leave. They will take up another role, which will most likely involve giving something to the next generation of players, some of whom have already got into the team.
“We are a conveyor belt of talent, and there are too many young players at Leeds who are getting this great coaching for it not to happen. I think we’ll see lots more young Leeds kids doing a great job for the club.”
Jones-Buchanan has been an England regular for several seasons, but missed out on selection for this season’s Four Nations.
But he sees that as a blessing in disguise for Leeds.
“I wasn’t good enough for England this year. I didn’t have enough game time and had injuries, so I wasn’t surprised when Steve McNamara telephoned me and told me I wasn’t being selected. I could totally understand that, because there are some great back-rowers in our league.
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“But my first thought was for Carl Ablett. He’s been the king this year, just fantastic. He improves every year and he’s very versatile. I’d have thought he’d have been the first back-rower to be selected.
“Steve likes Brett Ferres, and Elliott Whitehead has had a great year as well, so they got the nod.
“But I think our non-selection will be a help for the club. We will do whatever is necessary to win trophies for Leeds.”