Congratulations to Kyden Frater, who has become the second player from Leeds Rhinos Foundation’s Development Academy to earn a professional contract with Leeds Rhinos.
Following the signing of Mekhi Bridgeman-Reaney earlier this year, Frater becomes the latest success story to come out of the charity’s dual-pathway Development Academy programme, which is run in partnership with Leeds City College and gives aspiring the players a chance to combine rugby league with their full-time studies.
The youngster was one of seven members of the Rhinos Academy squad to be revealed to have signed their first professional contracts with the club this week, joining Billy Davies, Dylan Proud, Ben Littlewood, Harrison Gilmore, Blake Morgan and Neil Tchamambe, who also began his rugby league journey with Leeds Rhinos Foundation after first being encouraged to take up Rugby League with a club following a Foundation coaching session at his school.
Full back Frater is the only representative of Ambassador club Milford ARLFC in the Rhinos Academy squad and was inspired to start playing by his dad, who himself was a former player in the community game.
He came through the Scholarship as a half back but in his two appearances for the Rhinos Under-18s, he has scored two tries on the wing. He also made several appearances for Leeds Rhinos Foundation’s Development Academy, including playing a starring role in the College Cup Final clash with Warrington Wolves last month with two try assists.
🗣️"𝙒𝙃𝘼𝙏 𝘼 𝙈𝙊𝙈𝙀𝙉𝙏"🎉
Kyden Frater with the clutch play for our U18s last Friday night!
— Leeds Rhinos (@leedsrhinos) May 10, 2022
A lifelong Rhinos fan, Frater says he was over the moon to sign his first professional contract with his hometown club and gave credit to the role played by his community club Milford and the Development Academy in helping him reach this stage.
“It’s probably one of the best feelings I’ve ever had,” said Frater. “Wearing that jersey which I’ve always wanted to wear, for the club I’ve supported since I was a little boy, is something I’ve wanted to do since I started playing Rugby.”
“It’s a good feeling scoring for the Rhinos and hearing the crowd there cheering you on and getting behind you really drives you on.
“I played for Milford since a young age up until last year, when I moved into the Rhinos Academy and also played for the Leeds City College Development Academy team which was great. I got to my first ever final and although we didn’t get the result we needed, to play in my first final at Headingley was a special experience.
“Everything about the Development Academy is so professional and it’s good because you’re playing in a different environment from your club team with a different set of mates. Some of those lads have never played competitively before so it’s a really good grounding and you definitely learn a lot from the coaches which helps your game.
“Obviously I thank my junior coaches a lot, because they’ve been there and helping me on my journey since I was 4 or 5 years old. Milford was the very first club I played at and where I first ever touched a rugby ball, so they’ve brought me all the way to where I am now and I thank them a lot for all their support over the years.”
“Hopefully if I keep working hard then eventually I’ll reach the first team, because that’s the next step and the next goal which I want to achieve with the club.”
To learn more about the Leeds Rhinos Development Academy- run in partnership with Leeds City College- please CLICK HERE.
Development Academy Open Trials
Leeds Rhinos Foundation and Leeds City College are running open trials for aspiring players aged 16-18 looking to join their Development Academy from September 2022. The trials will take place at the Rhinos’ Kirkstall Training Ground on Monday 30th May, 3.30pm-5pm.
As well as enjoying a practical session with experienced Head Coaches Lois Forsell and Harvey Whiteley, it will also be the perfect time for hopefuls to explore their options studying at Leeds City College, and find out more by speaking with staff from both the College and the Foundation who head up the dual-pathway programme.
To register for the Leeds Rhinos Development Academy trials, please CLICK HERE.