Walney Central young guns Rio Corkill and Luke Broadbent have left the amateur game after taking the professional ticket with St Helens and Warrington, respectively.

The pair of 16-year-old St Bernards' pupils have been the stars of junior rugby in the area over the last nine years and have both earned their stripes, signing two (Corkill) and three-year contracts.

Broadbent recently played for the England Youth (under-16s) side against their French counterparts and scored a try in both encounters.

Corkill took part in the training sessions and would probably have been in the squad, but had to pull out through injury.

Corkill has been under the watchful eye of St Helens for some time and will go on their academy side's tour of Australia in the close season.

Broadbent follows in the footsteps of his dad Gary, who as a 16-year-old also took the professional ticket with Widnes before moving onto Salford, Whitehaven and Barrow.

Cents academy coach Neil Henderson has had both lads under his wing since the age of seven and was full of praise for both, saying: “It was evident at the age of seven they were destined for big things in the game. Both were very talented then and they are now.

"At under-14s level, they along with six other Walney players represented Barrow boys against West Cumbria.

They are different players - Rio is big, agile and very strong while Luke is very skilful, versatile and can play in any back position.

"They have both worked hard and have listened to advice we at Walney gave to them, they learnt the core skills and have really developed.”

Both lads played for Walney under-16s this year, but for different reasons the team had to fold.

Corkill's father Kevin said: “Rio is very focused and serious about joining St Helens. As a seven-year-old all he wanted was to go a long way in rugby.

"He was spotted by Saints in May of last year and when Walney played at Thatto Heath earlier in the season they were impressed with his ability and attitude. He is always at the gym and looks after his diet and now he has got his reward.

"St Helens told him before he had even signed that they would take him on their under-19s tour Down Under. Only 20 are making the trip, so he has done very well to be selected."