MORGAN GANNON enjoyed his first Leeds Rhinos appearance as a halfback on Boxing Day.
The 19-year-old has established himself as a regular in the Leeds first team over the past two years, adding 25 appearances in 2022 to the 13 games played in his debut year in 2021.
It is in the back row that Gannon has emerged as a hugely talented prospect, but he has also been training as a halfback this pre-season.
And he played at stand-off for the first time since his junior days when the Rhinos faced Wakefield Trinity in their traditional Boxing Day pre-season clash at Headingley.
“It was good, I got my hands on the ball and ran a lot more than normal,” said Gannon.
“I enjoyed it. It felt I had a lot of energy to offer the team.”
Although there is plenty of difference between the two positions, Gannon believes that his best attribute is valuable in both.
“I’m a runner first either way. Whether I’m playing six or back row, I’m running first, and if there’s a pass that comes off the back of that, then it comes,” he said.
“It’s just about being more alive with every play. At back row you can miss a play, but at half you have to be on the ball with every play.”
Leeds finished on the losing side of a match in which 21 players, including a number of youngsters, featured for Leeds, but Gannon considered it a worthwhile exercise.
“Towards the end, the scoreline got away from us, but overall we were happy with what we put out there,” he said.
Leeds return to training this week after a period off following Boxing Day, with further pre-season games to come against Leigh Leopards (Sunday, January 22), Bradford Bulls (Sunday, January 29), Hull KR (Sunday, February 5) and Hunslet (Sunday, February 12).
“The earlier the friendlies come, it feels like pre-season is over, but there’s still plenty of work to be done in January,” said Gannon.
“To see what you’re doing in pre-season come to fruition in games as soon as possible gets everyone excited.”