NRL side New Zealand Warriors sign young Leeds Rhinos forwards
National Rugby League side New Zealand Warriors have captured two upcoming stars from Super League club Leeds Rhinos.
Last Updated: 13/07/13 4:38pm
The Warriors confirmed on Saturday they have completed the signings of Rhinos forwards Jordan Baldwinson and Mason Tonks.
General manager Dean Bell claims the snaring of the two 18-year-olds signals a new direction to promote and develop talented players.
Bell, a former Rhinos academy manager, recently visited England with Warriors chief executive Wayne Scurrah and is delighted with the results of his scouting trip.
"We're really excited about signing Jordan and Mason," he told the Warriors' official site.
"For us, this is the start of something new and something we see working very well for our club and for the game generally.
"Jordan has already made his Super League debut this year and Mason is highly regarded as well. While they're only very young they've both got the qualities needed to become NRL players of the future."
Baldwinson started his career with Hunslet Hawks before joining the Leeds academy system in 2007. He also went on to captain England at Under-18 level earlier this year.
Castleford-born Tonks was signed by the Rhinos in 2011, playing with the club's Under-20 side before being included in the first team squad this season.
After witnessing the success of Adrian Morley, Gareth Ellis and Sam Burgess who have all made the switch from Super League to NRL in recent years, Warriors pathways coach Stacey Jones is relishing the prospect of working with the Yorkshire-men.
"They're two young boys with big reputations and I'm sure they're going to make a real difference to our squad," he said.
"We're committed to developing New Zealand players but we're also keen to have the best players in our system wherever they come from.
"Like Dean, I've seen firsthand what sort of talent there is in England. It's going to be of real benefit to us having strong relationships in the United Kingdom."