TEENAGE DEBUTANT Robbie Ward was hailed by Leeds Rhinos coach Brian McDermott after getting his first team career off to a flying start at Headingley last night.
The 18-year-old former Oulton Raiders youngster scored the final try in Rhinos’ 20-6 win over Hull at rain-lashed Headingley Carnegie.
Ward, an England academy international, got his chance with first-choice hookers Paul Aiton and Rob Burrow both on the long-term casualty list.
Second-row Chris Clarkson had filled in at hooker in the previous three games, but McDermott said: “Robbie was very good.
“He really took his chance. He came in and had a huge impact on the game. The exercise of playing Chris Clarkson has worked and been good, but we always knew that had a shelf life.”
“Last night’s win kept Rhinos top of First Utility Super League and got them back to winning ways following their Magic Weekend loss to Wigan Warriors six days earlier.
McDermott felt the weather and pitch contributed to a scrappy contest and “prevented both teams from attacking”.
But assessing Rhinos’ performance, McDermott said: “I thought it was good. You have got to put it into context after last week.
“We have still got some tired men and we have been through a very tough, busy and intense period. We had some tired players during the week and we had to manage them really well.
“To fashion a win in the way we did, it was good.”