He was Betfred Super League’s young player of the year in 2018, but Castleford Tigers pivot Jake Trueman reckons his form this season has been ordinary.
Trueman is expected to return from a concussion which kept him out of last week’s defeat by Leeds Rhinos when Tigers make the short trip to Wakefield Trinity tomorrow evening.
And he reckons – like the team – he needs to find some consistency to end a difficult campaign on a high.
“I think I’ve had an average season,” he said ahead of tonight’s round-22 – out of 29 – derby. “I could have played better.
“I started the season off all right then I think I tailed off a little bit, but I feel like I know my role in the team now.
“I’ve just got to go out there and put performances in week-in, week-out.”
Trueman lost his ever-present record last week, but insisted: “I have enjoyed being involved in so many of the matches.
“There was a lot of competition at the start of the season, but obviously injuries have changed the way we’ve had to go.
“Before the start of the season I expected to, hopefully, be playing with Luke Gale when we got the numbers six and seven, then I was playing with Jamie Ellis and he got injured.
“Since then I’ve played alongside Jordan [Rankin], Cory [Aston] and Pete [Mata’utia] so it has been difficult.”
Tigers dropped out of the play-off places following last Friday’s setback and Trueman accepts they will need to be much better today against a Trinity team only two points below them on the ladder.
“It wasn’t a good enough performance from us against Leeds so we’ve got to put it right this week,” he stressed.
“We need a win because of our position on the table. We need to start picking up wins.”
Tigers are on a 12-game hot streak against their near neighbours, including five successive victories at Mobile Rocket Stadium, Belle Vue.
“We’ve talked a little bit this week about having a good record against Wakefield,” added Trueman, who has played there only once.
“We know how to beat them and we’ve just got to play the way we have the last few times against them.
“They are always close games though and, as a derby, we are expecting it to be tough.
“They are going to be desperate and we’ve got to match them for that.”
Trueman will take over from Aston in the halves and Oliver Holmes could return from long-term injury with fellow forwards Will Maher and Jacques O’Neill also in contention.
Winger Greg Eden has been dropped and is replaced in the squad by Tuoyo Egodo, who has recovered from a head knock.
Pack man Matt Cook is the other player left out from last Friday’s team.
Wakefield Trinity: from Arundel, Batchelor, Brough, Caton-Brown, Crowther, England, Hampshire, Hirst, Jones-Bishop, Jowitt, King, Kopczak, Lyne, Miller, Pauli, Randell, Tanginoa, Tupou, Wood.
Castleford Tigers: from Blair, Clare, Clarkson, Egodo, Holmes, Maher, Massey, Mata’utia, McMeeken, McShane, Millington, Milner, Minikin, O’Neill, Rankin, Sene-Lefao, Smith, Trueman, Watts.
Referee: Marcus Griffiths (Widnes).
Kick-off: Tomorrow, 7.45pm.