Baldwinson eyes Peacock contest
Former Leeds and England academy captain Jordan Baldwinson is hoping to go up against Jamie Peacock this season as he attempts to take the place of the veteran forward in the Rhinos team.
Baldwinson and fellow 19-year-old forward Mason Tonks will both return to Headingley in 2015 after a six-month stint in New Zealand with the Warriors, but before then will be plying their trade for Leeds' arch rivals Bradford Bulls after joining them on short-term contracts.
The youngsters cut short their stay in Auckland to answer an SOS from the relegation-threatened Bulls and, after undergoing their first training session with their new team-mates today, could go straight into Francis Cummins' team for Saturday's First Utility Super League clash with Catalan Dragons in Perpignan.
Baldwinson made his Super League debut for the Rhinos last June but rejected the offer of a new three-year deal in order to try his luck in the NRL.
He failed to break into the Warriors' NRL team but is hoping to put his experience of playing for their Under-20s to good use with Bradford before seeking to make his mark on an ageing Leeds pack.
"Their forwards are still good and playing well but they can't have many more years left in them and, fingers crossed, we might get a shot next year," Baldwinson told reporters at Bradford's training base.
"I said to my family it would be really good to play against Leeds this year because I really want to take Jamie Peacock on.
"Kylie Leuluai has only got this year until his contract needs renewing so there's a spot there and Jamie Peacock is getting old and he might be thinking about retiring soon. It's nice that we might be able to take their spots.
"But I'm not focused on Leeds next year. I'm just focused on the Bulls and I want to see what I can do this year.
"This is the best option for me now and I want to really make a name for myself in Super League. It would be great if I could make a difference to this team."
Castleford-born Tonks, who has yet to make his Super League debut, said the pair jumped at the chance presented by Bradford.
"To be honest, I think I'd have been home at the end of the year anyway and this is a chance to play for a top side," said Mason, who has also signed a three-year deal with the Rhinos from next season.
"Franny Cummins got in touch and said, 'When can you get on a plane and come home?' That was on the Thursday and we were on the plane on Saturday night.
"We both loved the experience over in New Zealand and it's the best thing I've done in my life but it's time to make a name for myself over here with the experience I've gained.
"It was a real eye-opener for me. It's a completely different game. Everyone is so big and fast and athletic. I was probably the lightest forward in the team. I was a big lad in England but they're a different breed, the people from the islands.
"I feel 100 per cent fit. Me and Jordan were blitzing fitness. I'm ready and I can't wait to pull that Bulls jersey on. We want to show what we're made of."
Bradford, who are eight points away from safety as the season reaches the halfway stage, will be boosted by the return of on-loan prop Antonio Kaufusi, who was forced to sit out Sunday's 54-16 defeat by his parent club Huddersfield Giants, and Manase Manuokafoa and James Donaldson could be back from injury for the trip to Perpignan.
That could mean Baldwinson and Tonks having to wait for their debuts but Cummins is delighted to have the new recruits at his disposal.
"They're from a good stable and they've had a taste of somewhere else, which is good," Cummins said. "You can't buy that experience.
"They've just got off the plane and we've had a recovery session today, so we'll see how they settle in tomorrow and how the team is shaping up before we make a decision on whether they will play this week."