RUGGED forward Brad Singleton is targeting a big season with Leeds Rhinos after getting in from the start.
Singleton was named in Rhinos’ 13 for last weekend’s season-opener at Hull KR and is hoping to retain his place at home to Warrington Wolves tomorrow.
The 21-year-old Cumbrian prop made one substitute appearance in both 2011 and 2012 and was loaned out to Wakefield Trinity Wildcats at the start of last season.
But an injury crisis opened a door back into the team and Singleton played 16 games for Leeds in 2013, a figure he wants to beat this year.
He was selected on merit to start as one of the first-choice props against Hull KR and Singleton said that gave his self-belief a huge lift.
“It was a confidence-boost,” he said. “It was a long pre-season, I’ve been in since November and for the coaches to show a bit of faith in me is definitely a positive. We have got competition for places in our forwards and it would be silly not to want to start every game.
“That is my aim, but it will be for all the other forwards too. I haven’t set a target for how many games I want to play, I just want to play well and get picked each week. I got 16 games last year and I definitely want to play more than that, but it’s up to the coaching staff.”
Now in his fourth year as a full-time player, Singleton added: “I just want to play games now. I think I am further on than I was this time last year. Playing for England Knights was good for me and it has been a massive learning experience just being in and around the squad.
“It all helps, learning from the best – like Kylie (Leuluai), JP (Jamie Peacock) and (Ryan) Bailey. That’s massive for me and it’s great to start.”
Singleton is looking for another crack tomorrow after holding his own against Rovers’ giant pack last week.
“I thought we all dug deep and it was good we got the win,” he said. “We all want to win every game and play well every week.
“It was a good effort and I think we all did ourselves proud. It is a short turn-around to this week and it’ll be a tough game. I think everyone will still be a bit rusty right across Super League, but everyone will pick their game up throughout the year.
“In the first game you are not firing on all cylinders. All you can do is your best and blow a few cobwebs away.
“It will be good to be at home this week. The fans were great on Sunday and they’ll be twice as good at Headingley. They were massive for us last week and to sell out at Hull KR was good for the game of rugby league.”