It has been a difficult few weeks for Wakefield Trinity, but 22-year-old forward Jordan Crowther has been a shining light.
A host of injuries to senior players opened the door and Crowther stepped through to string together a run of appearances for the first time in his top-flight career.
He has impressed enough to earn a contract extension to the end of 2021 and was among the try scorers when Wakefield broke out of their slump with a 36-10 victory over Huddersfield Giants last Friday.
“I am loving it,” Crowther said of his spell in the team. “The most games I’ve ever played before was seven so I have more than doubled it this year.
“I have been lucky with a few injuries, but you have to take your chances.”
Crowther made his debut in 2014 and spent last year on loan at Dewsbury Rams in the Betfred Championship.
Before this season he had managed only 18 appearances in Super League, eight of them in the starting side.
He is now one short of doubling that tally, which could come away to Catalans Dragons on Saturday.
“I have been waiting patiently for my opportunity and now I’ve got it I want to cement myself in that place for this year and hopefully for next year and so on,” Crowther added.
“I think I just needed a run of games. I played a lot of games in the Championship last year and it’s a completely different kettle of fish playing week-in, week-out at Super League level. I am really enjoying it.”
Crowther was a stand-out for Rams last year and of his time in the Championship he recalled: “It’s a lot more physical than Super League, but obviously not as fast.
“It was just getting those minutes under my belt that I needed, then I got to play the last five or six games here so I thank Dewsbury for what they did for me.”
Crowther’s touchdown against Huddersfield Giants last week was only his second for Trinity.
My first try was Huddersfield at home – my second was Huddersfield at home,” he said.
“I hadn’t scored in a long time and it was a must-win game for us.
“We’ve had a tough five or six weeks so we really needed that, but it means nothing if we don’t back it up against Catalans, which is going to be another tough game.”
Trinity are now eighth in the table, four points off the foot of Betfred Super League and just two outside the play-off places. People were saying we were in a relegation battle, which we were,” Crowther reflected.
“But we are still only two points off fifth so it can go one of two ways. Hopefully this [last week’s win] is the boost we need to get back on the horse and go forward.”
Giants led early on and equalised after Trinity had gone 10-6 ahead, but a try on the stroke of half-time – the second of Tyler Randell’s hat-trick – proved crucial and Wakefield scored 26 unanswered points in the second period. Any win was welcome, but Crowther said: “To keep a team like Huddersfield tryless in that second half shows a lot about where we’re at. We are a tight group, we have got each other’s back and I think it showed, especially in the second half.”
Cook Islands forward Tinirau Arona has also signed a new deal, until the end of 2022. Arona, 30, joined Trinity ahead of the 2016 campaign, but suffered a season-ending knee injury two months ago.
Meanwhile, prop Craig Huby has left Trinity by mutual consent. Huby picked up a serious shoulder injury at the beginning of the season and that has kept him sidelined ever since.