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Page last updated at 14:26 GMT, Tuesday, 27 January 2009

MP enlisted to aid Eastwood deal

Greg Eastwood in action
Eastwood has made 62 appearances for the Broncos

Leeds Rhinos have enlisted the help of local MP Greg Mulholland as they look to get new signing Greg Eastwood into the country in time for the new season.

The 21-year-old requires a British passport but it may not be processed in time for the season opener next week.

"Mulholland's team have been very good and are trying to move things along," chief executive Gary Hetherington told the Yorkshire Evening Post.

"All the information has been received and it's simply a matter of waiting."

Rhinos coach Brian McClennan has admitted he does not know if the second row will be at Headingley in time for the opener against Celtic Crusaders.

"I don't know - I'm not going to make guesses," he told BBC Radio Leeds.

Our guys, the players and staff, are pretty frustrated too

Leeds Rhinos coach Brian McClennan

"Greg is hugely disappointed that this is happening - all he wants to do is get on a plane and get out here and meet his new team-mates."

Eastwood has agreed a three-year-deal with the Super League champions and was brought in from Brisbane Broncos as a direct replacement for Great Britain star Gareth Ellis, who joins Australian side West Tigers at the end of the season.

It had been hoped that he would be able to join up with the Rhinos on their training camp in Florida, but they have now returned and McClennan is still waiting to meet up with his new signing.

"Our guys, the players and staff, are pretty frustrated too," he added.

Meanwhile, Rhinos forward Jamie Jones-Buchanan has spoken of his delight at his testimonial match against Hull FC on Monday.

The Rhinos lost 20-16 at Headingley Carnegie, but over 5,000 fans turned up to support the home-grown second row, who came up through the ranks at the club.

"I'm really thankful and appreciative of the people who turned up, both Hull and Leeds fans," the 27-year-old told BBC Radio Leeds.

"It was always a bit of a dream to come and play for my home-town club, winning trophies and playing international rugby."

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