Highly-rated Leeds Rhinos prop Brad Singleton deserves his big reputation, according to Wakefield Trinity Wildcats coach Richard Agar.
The 20-year-old has joined Wildcats on a two-month loan and made his debut in Sunday’s 38-10 pre-season win over Featherstone Rovers.
“He showed why there’s such an enormous rating on him,” Agar said.
“He’s a very, very skilful kid. He knows how to play the game and he’s one of these kids who’s got a really smart football brain.”
Agar added: “He knows where to be and when to be there. He has got some little subtleties to him for a front-rower.
“I was really pleased for his first game – considering how little preparation time he’d had with us – that he performed so well and for such a long stint.”
With Oliver Wilkes also featuring against Rovers, Singleton’s arrival has eased Wildcats’ problems in the front-row.
Agar said: “Our middle is not a concern to me at the moment, but I’d like to get Andy Raleigh, Kyle Amor and Oliver Wilkes a bit more game time before we get up and running.
“Kyle won’t be available for Sunday’s game at St Helens, but we are hoping Andy will.
“He trained all last week and was close to playing on Sunday, but he’s had a little tear and he needs a bit more of the scar tissue working out, so it’s a little less painful for him.
“Frankie Mariano will play this Sunday, which will be a welcome addition, but Amor will be available for the Doncaster game on the 27th, if that.
“We might struggle to get him back for round one. He has had a shoulder reconstruction, but he has probably not come on as well as we’d have liked.”
Agar admitted that he is facing a selection dilemma in the outside-backs, with former Hull flier Reece Lyne showing outstanding form in Wildcats’ two trial games so far.
Agar stated: “I think the competition for places is outstanding. Reece moved to the wing on Sunday (from centre) because Peter Fox had a head knock.
“Predominantly in his senior career he has played wing – and a little bit of full-back – but in his junior career he was always a centre.
“To have that ability to play both for us will be very, very valuable. The quality of his first two outings – to say he is a 19-year-old kid – has been good.
“The more Reece plays the better he will get and he will put some pressure on our three-quarters to make sure they are performing every week.
“He started on Sunday on merit, on what he has done since November 5.”
Wildcats are checking on a series of “knocks” suffered against Rovers.
Agar said: “Apart from Peter Fox’s head knock, Justin Poore got a bit of swelling on his cheekbone, Vinny Mellars came off with a groin problem, Reece Lyne’s hamstring tightened up a bit – nothing too major, that was just a precaution – and Paul Sykes got a bit of a dead leg, but nothing too much to worry about.
“We had 20 players and at one point we only had one bloke fit to go back on.”
Sunday’s trip to St Helens – for Jon Wilkin’s testimonial – will be Wildcats’ “major trial game” according to Agar.
He said: “We will prepare as we would for a normal competition game.”