LEEDS RHINOS half-back Jordan Lilley is taking inspiration from his rival Jake Trueman.
Trueman, 19, was man of the match for Castleford Tigers in last Sunday’s 42-10 win over Rhinos, when he scored two sparkling solo tries.
Having recovered from injury, Lilley was recalled at stand-off by Leeds’ new backroom team of Kevin Sinfield and James Lowes.
The 21-year-old admitted his confidence has suffered from two years of only occasional appearances when Joel Moon – previously a centre – was preferred in the halves, but reckons Trueman has proved what is possible when faith is placed in a young playmaker.
Lilley played four times in 2015 and made 24 appearances the next year, but featured in only nine games last season and the derby at the Jungle was his fourth of 2018.
“Obviously it was frustrating, but the coach is in charge and the coach picks the team,” said Lilley, who spent much of last year on loan at Bradford Bulls and had a similar stint with Leigh in March.
“I appreciate that Mac [previous boss Brian McDermott] picked what he thought was the best team. That’s fair play on all accounts, but it was nice to have the faith put in me by Kev to put me in straight away, even knowing I’d not played for quite a long time.
“It gives me confidence and I just need to get that confidence back in my game, as at the minute I’m not really playing with much confidence.
“I’m at kind of a low point with the confidence on the pitch. I just need to be out there so I can start those combinations and practice leading the team around and guiding them around.
“A great example is Jake Trueman. Daryl Powell [Tigers’ coach] stuck by him and has kept him in there.
At times he may not have had great games, but they stuck by him and look at him now, he’s flying. With Luke Gale not being in he has had his chance and developed week-in, week-out under Daryl Powell.Jordan Lilley
“At times he may not have had great games, but they stuck by him and look at him now, he’s flying. I thought he was exceptional [on Sunday]. With Luke Gale not being in he has had his chance and developed week-in, week-out under Daryl Powell.”
Lilley has welcomed former captain Sinfield’s return to Rhinos as director of rugby.
“I was really pleased,” he added. “I played with Kev when he was here in 2015 and before that I’d worked with him and he had helped me develop as a player with my kicking game and things like that.
“To have him back is a real bonus, to work with him and try improve my game.
“Obviously over the last few years I haven’t been out on the field to be able to practise that.”
Rhinos’ initial 19-man squad for Friday’s must-win visit of Wakefield Trinity will be named this afternoon. Lilley said: “If I don’t play I’ll just keep working hard and try to get into the team.
“It’s just about gametime for me and combinations out on the field and developing them and just getting that chance to put them in place really.”
Rhinos are ninth in Betfred Super League and Lilley described Friday’s game as crucial.
He said: “Every game is massive the way we are at the minute and the teams below us are winning so it’s putting us under a lot of pressure.
“But we probably had two days under Kev and Jimmy and Rob [Burrow] and Chev [Walker] last week so it will be nice to have a full week’s training with them.
“We can put some things in place – some systems and structures – and get out on the field, practise them and get these combinations, not just for myself but throughout the whole team.”