Despite Leeds’ shaky start to the Super League season, one player in the Rhinos ranks currently has the world at his feet.
Jordan Lilley was a name few would have heard of before the start of the 2016 season, even after making his debut for the Rhinos last year.
However, the 19-year-old has made a name for himself at the start of 2016 with a number of fine displays after being given his chance following a major injury crisis at the Rhinos.
Lilley has been the standout star for the reigning Super League champions this year, and made a large contribution on Friday as he landed a superb touchline conversion with the game poised at 16-16, with his goal helping Leeds secure their first win of the season against Huddersfield.
Although the results haven’t gone to plan, Lilley admitted that he is embracing every moment of his run in the team.
“I’m loving it,” he told TotalRL. “The results haven’t been going our way but the camp is still positive and if we can fix up a few things we can get going.
“With the injuries it’s been fortunate that I got a chance in the team. Every week now is a chance for me to show Mac (Brian McDermott) that I’m good enough to play week in, week out and to be doing a job. It’s massive for me to keep pushing for my position.”
The opportunity to play regular Super League matches has paid dividends for the playmaker, who believes he is progressing with every game he plays around a squad full of superstars.
“From where I was last year to this year there’s been a huge step in my ability and confidence as well. Just being on the field and learning loads from the experienced players beside me. I’m going to keep getting better.
“All the experienced players, especially Danny (McGuire), are good to have around me and helping me out because I’m still learning different things and what I need to do.”
His rise to stardom has, of course, led to pressures off the field. For some the constant scrutiny is too difficult to handle, but Lilley appears to be taking it all in his stride.
“When you start playing you get a lot more people talking to you, and it’s learning to handle that. But so far, I wouldn’t say I’m enjoying it, but I’m handling it pretty well.”
And amazingly, despite all the plaudits, Lilley doesn’t believe he has showed anything like his best so far.
“Hearing everyone say good things about me on Twitter and the same from the coach and team-mates is nice to have.
“But for me it just shows the potential I have to go further because personally I don’t think I’ve played particularly well, but that’s just me being critical of my performances. For people to think I’m playing well when I don’t shows when I am playing well what I can achieve.”