Cornwall RLFC Have Swooped for Former Leeds Rhinos Academy Star Liam Whitton
February 24, 2022
The 20-year-old utility back began the 2022 campaign at Championship outfit Halifax Panthers before leaving the Shay side earlier this month.
Whitton cut his formative rugby league teeth at his local club Siddal before joining the Rhinos’ academy ranks. He was a prolific try scorer at Headingley and spent time on loan at Featherstone Rovers before making the move to Post Office Road permanent in 2020.
Due to limited game time with Rovers, Whitton moved back into the amateur game with Siddal and subsequently joined Halifax in November 2021.
After a brief stay with the 1987 Challenge Cup winners, his arrival in Cornwall further strengthens the Choughs’ squad as we build for our maiden 2022 Betfred League 1 campaign with head coach Neil Kelly hailing Whitton’s arrival as ‘a coup’.
“Liam is a significant signing for the club,” Kelly told cornwallrlfc.co.uk. “His DNA is exactly what we need and I really think that Liam joining Cornwall rugby league is a little bit of a coup for us.
“We see the likes of Liam and Harry (Aaronson) as those that are young and really want to buy into our project. We absolutely want to develop the talent we already have in Cornwall but attracting talented players from the heartlands is beneficial in so many ways.
“For our squad, having players with rugby league experience will help our team develop in an enjoyable environment and play good football. It will also give young players from a rugby league background an opportunity they may not have had before. I’m confident that Harry and Liam will be first of many young players that will tread the path from the north to Cornwall.”
That path that Kelly alludes to is one that Whitton revealed was too good to pass up, whilst Cornwall’s latest recruit says he’s looking forward to a change in lifestyle.
“It wasn’t an opportunity I didn’t want to turn down, moving to Cornwall and coming to live down here,” Whitton said. “I wanted to see the different lifestyle and I thought that I might regret (not signing) massively and to be part of a new club. I am really looking forward to it and I’ve heard it’s like being abroad down there in the summer with all the beaches.
“It will a different lifestyle to what I’m used to up here, but I want to experience that, tell people that I’ve done it and advise people to do it.”
Meanwhile, Cornwall RLFC general manager Gareth Reid added: “We are very happy to have secured Liam’s signature for the upcoming season. We feel that this could be a catalyst for other young and talented players in the game looking at an opportunity to progress their careers.” “Coming from a very strong background in the sport having gone through the Leeds Rhinos academy before spending time at a Championship level with both Featherstone Rovers and Halifax Panthers; we expect that Liam will play an integral role in the team for the season ahead.”