Prior to September 2020, Mikey Lewis had played just twice for Hull Kingston Rovers, once in 2019 and once in the Challenge Cup last March 2020.
Wind the clock forward to the end of last season and he had chalked up another seven appearances. But those performances seemed a world away from Lewis’ initial foray into the Rovers set-up.
“I made the step up from the Academy (City of Hull Academy) to the first team and it was very difficult,” he says.
“It was a lot more intense and I needed to improve physically.
“It came about after I made my debut for the Academy in France against Catalans and I scored a few tries, so Tim Sheens came up to me after the game.
“He said I’d had a good game, that he was impressed with what he had seen and then asked if I could come training once or twice a week.
“Nothing got said further until the end of the year and when the season had finished.
“Hull KR contacted my agent and we went from there. I signed a four-year deal in 2019 and I’m now here until 2023.”
Lewis, 19, spent much of 2019 on loan at Newcastle Thunder, which is an experience he waxes lyrical about, especially the influence of Thunder’s vociferous supporters.
“At first, Tim Sheens worried because he thought I would get pushed about, as I was smaller than everyone else.
“I told him to give me his faith and trust and assured him that I wouldn’t let him down.
“So I went there on a month’s loan and it was one of the best times of my career until now.
“The boys brought me in as one of their own, and it was one of the best atmospheres I’ve played in – the Newcastle fans are crazy.”
The halfback shifted back to Craven Park for 2020 and, though he made an appearance for the Robins in a Challenge Cup victory over Leigh in March, he found opportunities hard to come by – that was until after the lockdown.
“I made eight appearances and it came at the right time for me,” he says.
“The first few games I had to be a ballboy and cone-man, but I enjoyed it. I’m still pretty young and it was good to be on the sideline to see what happened on a regular basis.
“When my chance came against Wigan, I had to show everyone what I was made of in my first game.
“I just played my own game and I went pretty well. It was my first game back after a few months of lockdown and we got the win.
“I then got the man-of-the-match against St Helens, even though we lost. To play regularly was a good experience for me to take into this year to push for a starting spot each week.”
And Lewis is determined to make his mark in 2021.
“I’ll be learning every day to gain enough confidence to pin that spot down instead of bouncing in and out of the team,” he says.
On a collective basis, Lewis says his side has not yet outlined its team goals, but he highlights the excitement within the camp about 2021.
“The next couple of weeks we will be talking about our goals.
“It could be a really good year. We’ve got some experienced players and youngsters like me who are eager to learn from them for the benefit of the team.”
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