One of the most surprising stories to emerge from the 2021 Betfred Super League season has been the fairytale rise of Morgan Gannon with Leeds Rhinos. The 17-year-old has gone from being an absolute unknown to playing as a forward for the team in next to no time, and he has spoken about how this has seemed ‘surreal’ and unbelievable. He has made four appearances so far this season, all off the bench, and is rated as one of the brightest prospects in the rugby system in England at the moment.
It is also interesting to note that his elder brother, Jacob, plays for the Warrington Wolves academy side, but is yet to break into the senior side, which is another indication of just how sudden and meteoric his rise has been. The Gannons have rugby in their family, as their father is Jim Gannon, who played over 200 games with Halifax, Huddersfield, Widnes and Hull KR during his professional career. Nevertheless, it has still been surprising to see the younger Gannon sibling be fast-tracked into the senior side, receiving his shirt number (31) before the start of the season, and already having made four appearances for the team. The Rhinos are ninth in the table at the moment, having won just two games, and will need a significant improvement to their form to make it into the playoffs. Various betting providers such as https://www.sportfogadas.net/ have pegged them to eventually get there, but performance levels definitely need to improve.
Gannon could provide that spark to the side, having made his debut in the Challenge Cup defeat to St Helens in April, and he has spoken of the special occasion it was to finally play in front of fans at Headingley. He is a versatile player, capable of playing as a second-rower or loose forward, and this could also come in handy for head coach Richard Ager as the season progresses. It must also be remembered that he is still only 17, and so still has some physical development to come, which will also probably determine where he ends up playing long-term. He is 6’3” at the moment, but only weighs around 93 kgs, so there is definitely a case for him to put on some more weight, and it would be even better if he could gain another inch or two in height by the time he turns 18 or 19.
Leeds have promoted a number of rookies into the senior setup this season on the back of a few injuries, and it has been very interesting to see the progress that the likes of Gannon and the others have made in a short span of time. This bodes extremely well for the Rhinos, as these players could go a long way towards securing their future and providing a core of young, talented home-grown players for the fans to get behind, who could be the bedrock of the team for years to come. Gannon certainly has the ability to go to the top of the game, and now it is all about his dedication and hard work to stay in the team, having passed the first hurdle in getting there.