PAT Richards has tipped Jack Hughes for the top after the young gun once again impressed at Castleford.
Rookie Hughes put in another fine display at the Probiz Coliseum, laying on a walk-in score for Richards and contributing a solid defensive effort as the Tigers were restricted to one try.
Little was known of Hughes before this season, but the 20-year-old has stepped into the breach following George Carmont’s injury-enforced lay-off.
Which could leave coach Shaun Wane with a very welcome selection headache when the veteran Samoan recovers from a broken thumb next month.
“Jack’s doing really, really well – he did great in pre-season and he’s picked it up since the season started,” enthused Richards.
“With Georgey being out, he’s really stepped up and is doing a really good job.
“It’s tough for any young kid coming in to the side, but the thing to remember is that it’s still only a game of footy, and you can’t really worry about anything else.
“All you can do is focus on the job in hand and, credit to him, he’s eager to learn and he’s got on with the job superbly.
“He’s a bit of a manufactured centre – his natural position is in the back row – but he’s listening to everyone around him and he’s showing plenty of enthusiasm.
“We’re looking forward to Georgey coming back – but Jack coming in has given us even more options and that’s only good for the team.”
Hughes and his colleagues were largely overshadowed by Sam Tomkins’ show-stopping hat-trick on his 100th appearance for the club at Castleford.
While admitting Tomkins’s display had been ‘magical’, Richards insists the team as a whole is at the top of its game just now.
“We’ve done a lot of hard work in pre-season and it’s starting to show with some good performances,” he added.
“It’s just a joy to play with these boys at the moment. Everybody’s doing their job and working for each other.
“I thought we all aimed up on the weekend and scored some pretty good tries.”