HIGH-QUALITY English half-backs are in short supply, but Jake Trueman is emerging as a possible long-term solution.
The 19-year-old Castleford Tigers star has stepped up to the plate following injuries to Luke Gale, Jamie Ellis and Ben Roberts. Outstanding in last week’s win at Warrington, he could retain the starting scrum-half role at home to Hull KR tomorrow and credited coaches Daryl Powell, Ryan Sheridan and Danny Orr with bringing his game on since he moved from Bradford Bulls last year.
The trio are former Super League pivots and Trueman enthused: “I am so much better for my time here. A lot of the technical stuff that’s needed from a half-back they’ve worked on a lot. They are all half-backs and they’ve all played at the top level so it’s easy to learn off them.”
Trueman ran the show for injury-ravaged Tigers when they won at 34-30 HJ Stadium eight days ago and admitted that is how he wants to play. He said: “I enjoyed the extra responsibility. We had Q [Quentin Laulu-Togaga’e] at half and he didn’t really know the players and systems so I had to be more dominant.
“I enjoyed that, it’s something I’ve probably got to do more if I want to go to that next level. It has been a great experience this year being in the halves and having to dominate the players around me. Being more vocal is something I need to work on and it’s something I am learning this year as I’m playing more.”
Tigers will be expected to beat Hull KR, who are second from bottom in Betfred Super League, but Trueman said another good performance is crucial.
“It’s very important to back it up, but we can’t get carried away,” he stated. “We did after we played Leeds at the Magic Weekend, we got a very good win against them and then came up against Saints and didn’t play very well. We’ve got to keep getting the two points if we want to stay around the top-four.”
Jake Webster and Junior Moors are back in contention for Tigers. Rovers will give a debut to new signing from Wigan Joel Tomkins and ex-Cas men Shaun Lunt and Lee Jewitt could return.
Castleford Tigers: from Clark, Cook, Foster, Gill, Hitchcox, Holmes, Laulu-Togaga’e, Massey, McMeeken, Millington, Milner, Minikin, Moors, Sene-Lefao, Shenton, Trueman, Turner, Wardle, Webster.
Hull KR: from Quinlan, Vaivai, Shaw, Scruton, Lunt, Masoe, Blair, Greenwood, Kavanagh, Jewitt, Donaldson, Clarkson, Marsh, Salter, Atkin, Tickle, Wallis, Smith, Tomkins.
Referee: Liam Moore (Wigan).
Kick-off: Tomorrow, 3.30pm.