Luke Hooley can make his mark at Leeds Rhinos says former coach

Leeds Rhinos signing Luke Hooley has been tipped to be a Super League success – by the coach who has helped get his career back on track.

Craig Lingard brought the fullback to Batley from Wakefield before the 2020 season – and has seen him blossom.

Hooley, who was unable to force a first-team breakthrough at Trinity, has been a consistent and key performer for the Bulldogs, helping them make the Championship play-offs for two years running.

And in a whirlwind six-day spell, the 24-year-old played his final game for Batley in the second-tier Grand Final at Leigh, signed a two-year deal with Leeds, then played for his new club as they faced New Zealand at Headingley in a World Cup warm-up match for Michael Maguire’s side.

“It was quite a spell,” said Lingard of the former Dewsbury Moor junior who left the Bradford Academy for Wakefield’s after the Bulls hit financial problems.

“It’s good that he got an early taste of pulling on a Leeds shirt at Headingley, and hopefully there will be many more games there for him.

“He certainly deserves his opportunity, and his progression says a lot about him as a person as well as a player.

“Luke was obviously disappointed things didn’t work out for him at Wakefield, but rather than taking his bat and ball home, he stuck at it.

“We took a bit of a gamble on him because we had an established player in Dave Scott, who he replaced, but he certainly repaid our faith.

“He got better and better with us, which is a reflection of his dedication and hard work, and with his size, strength and skill set, I’ve no doubt he has the attributes to become a top-end player.

“Luke will benefit from being able to focus on rugby without having to think about other work, and he’ll benefit from being in a full-time environment under a top-class coaching team.”

Leeds have fixed pre-season fixtures at home to Wakefield on Tuesday, December 27 (12.30pm) and at Hull KR on Sunday, February 5 (3pm).

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