ACE full-back Brent Webb has tipped Leeds Rhinos’ young flier Ben Jones-Bishop for a sparkling future.
Jones-Bishop was Rhinos’ man of the moment in Sunday’s season-opening 32-28 victory over Bradford Bulls, scoring a hat-trick of touchdowns including the match-winning penalty try.
He also pulled off a crucial tackle to force Chev Walker into a knock-on over the Leeds line in the first half.
Though Jones-Bishop played on the wing against Bradford, he also appeared at centre for Harlequins during a season-long loan last year and is viewed as Webb’s long-term successor at full-back for Rhinos.
“I am a big fan of Bish,” revealed Webb, whose pass created Jones-Bishop’s first try two days ago.
“He is a great kid and I think the loan spell down at Harlequins last year has done him a world of good.
“He has come back a better player. He showed on Sunday what he is capable of – he saved us on a few occasions and he scored some great tries.
“He has got the sort of stride where he doesn’t look as if he is moving that fast, but he has got good pace.
“He is only 22, so there is a lot more to come from him.”
Webb described Rhinos’ overall performance against Bradford as “steady” and he said: “We tried to do some of the things we have been practising all pre-season.
“We didn’t execute some of them that well, but I think we showed some toughness and resilience and we got them at the death.”
Four unanswered tries saw Rhinos home after they had trailed 28-10 inside the final quarter.
“I’d like to think we aren’t going to let teams get 18 points ahead before we click into gear,” Webb said.
“We don’t want to get into the habit of chasing games, it makes life quite hard.”
The round one victory in Cardiff gave Brian McDermott a successful start as Leeds coach and Webb reckons: “Everyone has responded to Macca and Jimmy (assistant-coach James Lowes) coming into the club.
“They have brought some new ideas and we have bought into what they are trying to achieve.
“In that respect we are working very hard.”
With Danny McGuire sidelined until at least May following a knee reconstruction, Webb is filling in as an additional play-maker.
“I enjoy that side of the game,” he said. “With Danny Mags being out for a fair period of time this year I am going to have to slot into that role a bit more often.”
Rhinos second-rower Jay Pitts suffered a bang to a shin against Bradford and is being assessed by medical staff. McDermott said he has “a chance” of being available to face Hull on Friday.
Lee Smith will be available for selection. McDermott said he was not included in the Millennium Magic squad due to a hamstring problem.
Meanwhile Rhinos and neighbours Hunslet Hawks are mourning former player Brian Shaw, who has died aged 79.
Shaw captained Hunslet in the 1950s before a record £13,250 transfer to the north of the city in 1961.
He was a member of the first Leeds team to win the Championship, 50 years ago and Rhinos chief executive Gary Hetherington said: “We are planning to make a big event of the anniversary, in May.
“We will be holding a reunion and Brian would have received an invite this week.
“He was a great player for both Hunslet and Leeds.”
Shaw, a prop or loose-forward, played six times for Great Britain between 1956 and 1961 and was a member of the 1960 World Cup- winning squad.