GIVEN there is currently a dearth of available talent in Super League, perhaps it is no surprise Bradford Bulls have ventured 12,000 miles to bolster their squad for the rest of the season.
Admittedly, teenagers Jordan Baldwinson and Mason Tonks – who arrive from New Zealand Warriors this weekend – are Yorkshiremen, hailing from Leeds and Castleford respectively, but it shows Bradford’s difficulties.
That said, the highly-rated pair, who moved to Auckland after graduating from Leeds Rhinos’ Academy last year, will bring much-needed depth to Francis Cummins’s squad.
Former England Academy captain Baldwinson, 19, is a loose forward who played twice in Super League for Leeds last season before making the switch and second-row Tonks is the same age.
They signed one-year deals with New Zealand Warriors but were restricted to a handful of Holden National Youth Cup games and released early. Both re-join Leeds for 2015 but, first, Bradford benefit from their skills as they seek to avoid relegation.
“This is a fantastic opportunity for Jordan and Mason and also a fantastic opportunity for us as a club,” said Cummins, with both in contention for the trip to Perpignan a week tomorrow.
“I saw a fair bit of them while they were at Leeds and was very impressed.
“They now have a great chance to make a name for themselves in Super League, by putting down a marker for us in the vital weeks and months ahead.”
Leeds head coach Brian McDermott said: “It’s always good to bring back two of our own players, who came through our academy structure and whom we’ve invested a lot of time in early in their careers.”