CASTLEFORD TIGERS head coach Daryl Powell hailed an "outstanding" and "top quality" display from hat-trick hero Jake Trueman last night.
The 20-year-old scored three tries as Castleford took control of their play-off hopes with a 44-12 victory over Hull FC at the Mend-A-Hose Jungle.
The victory moved the Tigers back into the top five and a win next week at Wigan Warriors will secure a play-off spot, regardless of results elsewhere.
Trueman was in fine form last night, with Powell almost running short of superlatives to describe the half-back's performance.
“He’s just fantastic isn't he?," said Powell.
“The boys call him world class. And I think he’s every chance of being that for a long time to come.
“Some of the things he does are so instinctive. He has a cheekiness about his game."
He added: “He’s so unassuming and he’s old school as well. I just love watching him play. He was outstanding.
"I think he's the best 20-year-old I've seen play since Shez (Ryan Sheridan).
"He's just a fantastic player and a great kid. You won't see him shooting his mouth off anywhere, he just gets on with his work and does it in an unassuming way.
"It was a top quality performance from him."
Powell has relished Castleford's tough end-of-season run-in, feeling it will only benefit his players if they secure a play-off place.
However, the Tigers boss is under no illusions about the task facing them next week.
"We've been talking for the last three weeks about being in play-off mode now and that's helped us," he insisted.
"We've only conceded four tries in four games now and one of them was a breakaway.
"We're in a great place. We've got to go to Wigan next week which is always a tough battle.
"Everybody said we had a tough run-in but it's perfect, it couldn't be any better.
"If we're going to be in the five then we're going to be good enough. And if we are in the five and we're good enough, we'll be a challenge for everybody.
"I've been around the game a while as a coach and a player and we look like a team who's ready to go into play-off mode."
Jordan Rankin was shifted to the full-back spot at Wheeldon Road last night while Peter Mata'utia was moved into centre.
Powell explained: "I thought Jordan Rankin was outstanding and he has been for some weeks now. It's his best position.
"Pete Mata'utia's a quality full-back, but I think he's an outstanding centre.
"He's made us solid in the centres defensively and Rankin's made us sharp at full-back and at the moment that's the way I see it."