LEEDS RHINOS’ Jack Walker may be the rookie, but he is someone rival Ben Roberts feels he can learn from.
Walker was a Grand Final winner for Rhinos – against Roberts and Castleford Tigers – last October in only his 12th first-team game.
Roberts has moved from stand-off to full-back this year and says he is an admirer of Rhinos’ 18-year-old talent.
The two could go head to head at Elland Road tonight and Roberts said: “Since being in a new position I have found myself watching other games and studying other full-backs in terms of what they do and where they position themselves and stuff like that.
“Young Jack Walker is a full-back I think highly of. He is a very talented footballer and obviously the future of rugby league over here.”
Tonight’s game will be Roberts’ fifth as Tigers’ No1. Coach Daryl Powell reckons he is improving week on week and the player agrees. He said: “I know I have still got a lot in me in terms of getting myself right for the position, but I think the main thing is as long as I am improving each week and heading in the right direction with that, I think I’m doing well.”
Castleford have had a stop-start season, playing fewer games than any of their rivals. Reflecting on their opening to the campaign, Roberts said: “We take games in patches of four and we are three from four at the minute.
“We are on target, but if we can get a win against Leeds I think that will boost us up and give us a lot of confidence. We’ve been getting games called off because of weather conditions and it’s crazy, I’ve never experienced that, but I suppose that’s life in the UK and part of rugby league over here.
“It is a bit of an inconvenience, but all we can do is concentrate on [tonight] and hopefully we can turn up and put in a good performance.”