WITH HIS fellow teenager Harry Newman scoring four tries, Owen Trout’s impressive feat in Leeds Rhinos’ Coral Challenge Cup demolition of Workington Town may have gone under the radar.
There were four England academy internationals, all aged 19, in Leeds’ side for the 78-6 victory and Trout, Muizz Mustapha and Callum McLelland made their club debuts.
Mustapha and McLelland were both given a taste of action off the bench, but Trout got a start in the second-row and played the full 80 minutes.
At 6ft 3ins, weighing 16st 7lbs, Trout did not look out of place physically and has speed and handling ability to go with his size and power, marking him out as an exciting prospect for the future.
“Not many people can say they played the full 80 on their debut, especially with a scoreline like that,” he pointed out.
“I was hoping for one [a first-team game this year].
It gave me a confidence boost being able to say to myself ‘I am playing against fully-grown men, people nearly double my age.Owen Trout
“You just have to try your hardest in training and games and sort of say ‘here I am, give me a spot’.”
A product of the Stanley Rangers community club in Wakefield, Trout spent last month on loan, along with Mustapha, at Betfred Championship side Dewsbury Rams.
He had never played at senior level before this year, but his time at Dewsbury – who play a level above League One Workington – made the transition from the academy easier.
Trout, whose brother Kyle plays for Rams, confirmed: “It gave me a confidence boost being able to say to myself ‘I am playing against fully-grown men, people nearly double my age and I am handling it pretty well’.
“I found it quite fast [last Friday], but I think that was because Workington knew they had to really come out of the blocks and try and shock us.
“I feel like we matched it whereas some Super League teams might try to weather the storm and then just push back, letting their fitness count.
“I feel like we really gave it to them, like a predator type of thing. We made sure we weren’t just the prey for the first 10 minutes.”
Trout, Mustapha and McLelland’s previous game at Emerald Headingley was for England academy in the famous win over Australian Schoolboys which clinched last year’s two-Test series. They, along with Newman who also played that night, are highly regarded by Rhinos. Trout said: “Harry and Muizz, I have been playing with them since the scholarship so it is amazing to be able to come through the ranks with your mates who you’ve known since you were 15.”
The target for Trout now is more first-team appearances and to help Rhinos pull out of the slump which has left them bottom of Betfred Super League.
“I feel like I did all right.
“Hopefully I stood up and showed Dave [Furner, Leeds Rhinos’ coach] I am ready to play against a Super League side,” he stated.
“I think that [result] was something we needed ... a confidence boost saying ‘we can actually do it, let’s get our tails up for these games over the Easter period and kick on and get up where we know we should be’.”
Meanwhile, forward Trent Merrin was yesterday still in Australia on compassionate leave following a family bereavement, but Rhinos are hoping to arrange a flight to England in the next few days and he has not yet been ruled out of Friday’s game against Huddersfield.