Sheffield Eagles have completed the signing of rising star Elliot Minchella from Super League heavyweights Leeds Rhinos.
The versatile operator, who can play in the second row or at loose forward, has penned a two-year deal.
At just 19, Minchella already boasts Super League experience with the Rhinos, whilst he furthered his rugby league education with a loan spell at fellow Kingstone Press Championship side London Broncos last season.
He made his Leeds debut in 2013, aged just 17, as he gathered a reputation as one of the hottest properties to come out of the Leeds Academy setup. Whilst he didn’t quite match the hype at that time, Eagles director of rugby Mark Aston believes there is much untapped potential in the Bradford-born star.
“He was 17 when he made his debut so they had massive expectations,” Aston said.
“They have now gone in a different direction but he has been through one of the best systems and for Leeds to play him so young tells you all you need to know about what they thought of him.
“He played 20 plus games for London last season and he was going to be one of the best kids to come out of Leeds, but the expectations probably got him down and he hasn’t quite achieved, but it doesn’t always happen straight away.”
Minchella is no stranger to the level following his stint with Andrew Henderson’s London, and he is also no stranger to Aston or his staff. The Eagles chief confirmed he tried to sign the youngster at the start of last season, whilst he is also well known to coach Keith Senior who worked with him during his time with the Rhinos.
“We tried to get him before he went to London and have kept a close eye on him,” Aston admitted. “Keith Senior worked with him at Leeds when he was involved with the scholarship there.
We have followed him for a long time and we are delighted to be working with him.”
Aston and Senior amongst others are now tasked with getting the best out of Minchella, along with a host of other youngsters who have switched to South Yorkshire during the close season. The Eagles have also added Dave Hewitt, Matty Fozard and George Tyson who are all 21 and under as Aston looks to give youth its chance.