Leeds Rhinos have signed St Helens back rower James Bentley on a two year contract from 2022 that will bring the former Oulton Raider amateur back to his home city.
The Ireland international started last year’s Grand Final for reigning Champions St Helens and returns to West Yorkshire after beginning his career at Bradford Bulls in 2016, having originally been part of Featherstone Rovers scholarship programme.
2019 saw Bentley play 17 times for Saints, as he showed his versatility. He played at hooker, back row and centre working with now Rhinos Assistant Coach Sean Long.
He quickly became a fans favourite and went from strength to strength in 2020, nailing down a starting berth in the back row and impressing throughout the Grand Final winning campaign. He was rewarded with the Saints Young Player of the Year Award.
Reacting to the news, Bentley said: “I am looking forward to joining the Rhinos for next season. I am a Leeds lad and grew up supporting the team, sitting on the South Stand wall and dreaming of running out on the pitch as a Leeds player.
“I have had a taste of success at St Helens and I want to make sure I come to Leeds and play my part in helping the team win even more silverware in the years ahead.
“I have had four really enjoyable years at Saints and made some great mates for life. I am doing everything possible to get back healthy and on the pitch as soon as possible and hopefully I can finish the year on the best possible note with St Helens.
Rhinos Head Coach Richard Agar added: “We are delighted to have secured James’ signature. He is a young British forward, who has developed tremendously well over the last couple of years where his form and achievements for St Helens have been outstanding.
“He is a real competitor, with a strong attitude and desire. He is a local lad who will add greatly to the crop of talented forwards we have in the club.”