A HOME debut was the ideal birthday present for Leeds Rhinos’ academy half-back Jordan Lilley.
He was called into Rhinos’ side for last Friday’s First Utility Super-8s clash with St Helens on his 19th birthday.
It was only his second senior appearance, after his debut at Wakefield Trinity Wildcats in June and though it wasn’t the result he wanted, he was delighted to get some first team game time.
“It was the perfect birthday present,” said Lilley, who backed up for the academy against Wigan Warriors on Saturday. “I thought I was playing for the under-19s, then Mac [coach Brian McDermott] called me up on Thursday and said he was putting me on the bench.
“I was made up, however long I got it was always going to be a special 19th birthday.”
It has been a big year for Lilley, who also impressed during a dual-registration spell at Hunslet Hawks. He said: “Mac has given me a chance this year and I can’t thank him enough. He obviously sees potential in me and I’ve just got to keep going. It was good to play against a team like Saints – to step on the field with players like James Roby, Alex Walmsley and Luke Walsh was definitely something special.”
Fellow Stanningley product Ashton Golding also played on Friday, on his 19th birthday.
Lilley said: “We were born in the same hospital and both brought up at Stanningley – he is an hour older than me, so it is always good to play alongside your best mate.
“And he had a good game.”