Castleford Tigers boss Daryl Powell has been impressed by the development of youngsters at the club (writes Tony Harber).
The head coach admitted that Cas had “not been fantastic” at bringing through younger players in recent years – Jake Trueman apart – but he is hoping that changes in 2019.
Players from the academy took the chance to enhance their claims to a first team spot in the pre-season game against Featherstone Rovers with Powell impressed with much of what he saw.
He said: “I thought a number of young players did well.
“I’d give a special mention to Brad Jinks who I thought was excellent. He played nine for massive minutes and played the whole of the second half.
“He’s a tough young kid and I’ve been really impressed with him since he’s been in training with us.
“We had some really young middle men, props, out there doing decent minutes.”
Among the young backs on show Powell had words of encouragement for scrum-half Jake Sweeting, full-back Calum Turner and winger Lewis Carr, who scored a hat-trick of tries.
He said: “Jake Sweeting is one of those young players who develop a little bit later, Calum Turner is in there as well. Really good players having the confidence and belief that they can step up.
“Calum Turner’s done it and I thought Jake Sweeting was really good, particularly towards the end of the first and then going into the second half when he started to run the ball and caused the defence a lot of trouble.
“I was pleased with him as well. He showed a lot more confidence than I’ve seen in him.
“Lewis Carr when he came on showed he has got a ton of speed – he makes standard scores look spectacular.
“He’s got a lot of pace Lewis, he just needs to have a bit more composure about the way he plays.”