MATURING prop Jordan Baldwinson hopes he will be given the chance to finally stake a claim with Leeds Rhinos next year.
The forward, 20, is on a season-long loan with Featherstone Rovers but believes the experience he is gaining in the Championship will allow him to make a mark on Super League in 2016.
Leeds front-rows Jamie Peacock and, in all likelihood, Kylie Leuluai are retiring at the end of this campaign so there will be vacancies at Headingley even with the arrival of Huddersfield Giants’ prop Anthony Mullally on a three-year deal.
“I’m getting good game-time generally at Fev and they appreciate the things I’m doing on and off the field,” said Baldwinson, who spent much of last season on loan with Bradford after returning in May from a stint with New Zealand Warriors’ Under-20s.
“From the experience point of view, I am loving it. Fingers crossed, I can go back to Leeds and prove to Brian McDermott and the rest of the coaching staff there that I’m worthy of being in their squad.
“I have spoken to (Rhinos chief executive) Gary Hetherington and Brian Mac. I can’t say just yet but, hopefully, I can return and Leeds can recognise I’ve been playing well for Featherstone.
“At the moment, though, I’m focusing on getting us into the top four.”
Rovers are on course to do that despite losing to champions Leigh 31-12 at Blackpooly.
Baldwinson – who came through home-town Leeds’ Academy and played twice in 2013 before moving to Auckland – was at the centre of the action after being felled by Gareth Hock who swung at him midway through the first half of a tetchy game.
Fellow Rovers prop Paul Wood was dismissed for punching soon after and the player admitted: “I think it was quite a tough call on Woody to get sent off after what Gaz Hock had just done.
“I thought he should have been red-carded and I have seen plenty of games where he would have been. It was pretty unfair but you have to get on with it and do what the referee says.”
Former England Academy captain Baldwinson added: “Personally, I thought we were the stronger, better team in the first 20 minutes. But when that kicked off with Hock hitting me, we should have probably had a bit of a scuffle there and then and ended it for the day. Instead, we just got caught in their game-plan – they like to mess things up.”