Under-20s captain Brad Singleton has pledged to be in the mix the next time Leeds Rhinos reach a major final.
The 19-year-old Cumbrian has made just one senior appearance – as a substitute last year – but is pushing for a call-up to the Super League side after impressive performances in pre-season.
Front-rower Singleton watched Rhinos’ Grand Final win over St Helens last October and the World Club Challenge victory against Manly Sea Eagles a week ago from the sidelines.
He was involved in the on-field celebrations after both and revealed that that has inspired him to be part of things for real in the near future.
“It definitely feels like the club to be at when you see things like that,” said Singleton, who joined Rhinos from Barrow Island amateur club three years ago.
“If you’re at a different club you wouldn’t experience things like last week. It is definitely what I want to aspire to.
“It was exactly the same at the Grand Final last year, that’s something I will always remember. I wasn’t playing, but I was still out there.
“All the youngsters are the same, we’ll always remember getting out on that pitch and watching all the lads.
“It makes you want to do it yourself.
“I hope this club carries on winning and I want to be a part of that.”
Along with hooker Liam Hood, Singleton is regarded as the next forward ready to step up to first- team action.
“I hope so,” he said. “But I can’t guarantee anything. I am just going to take each game as it comes and keep building in the under-20s.”
The knee injury which will keep Jamie Jones-Buchanan out for around three months has opened up a spot in Rhinos’ line-up, but Singleton admitted that there are players ahead of him in the queue.
“Coming from the fringe of a team like this means that it is always going to be hard,” he said. “You see all the people in front of you, there’s nine or 10 props so it is going to be difficult for me to get in there.
“But hopefully if I keep working at it I will come through. I would love to play in a World Club Challenge one day, that would be the goal.
“But it’s all about team performance, it’s all about getting there.
“This year’s World Club Challenge only came from the run in last year’s play-offs. It is an extra bonus.”
A specialist front-rower, Singleton captained the reserves from loose-forward in their pre-season games and in last weekend’s opening competition win over Wakefield Trinity Wildcats.
That versatility could be another factor in his favour, following the reduction from 12 substitutions to 10 this season.
“I’ve been playing at loose and also swapping around at prop,” he said. “I have been rotating positions for the side.
“I don’t know if it’s anything to do with the subs being reduced, but my role is similar – I’m just giving it maximum effort.”
Barrow-born Singleton was the 50th academy player to make the step up to the first team when he made his debut off the bench against Salford City Reds at Headingley Carnegie last March.
He captained England academy against France last year and has also played for England schools at under-16 level.