Jordan Lilley admits his spell on loan at Bradford has prepared him to challenge for a place in the Leeds Rhinos side on a permanent basis.
Lilley returned from his spell at the Championship strugglers to guide Leeds to a 24-22 win against St Helens on Thursday night in only his third appearance for the Rhinos this season.
He paid tribute to the Bulls and coach Geoff Toovey for how they have developed him as a player, before insisting he’s now ready to become a permanent fixture in Leeds’ side.
“It has been outstanding,” he said of his time at Bradford. “Geoff’s a really good bloke and the things he’s done in Rugby League are something I look up to.
“The spell there has done me good. I have toughed it out in the Championship in a team that’s gone through a lot, so it has been hard, but it has tested my character and, to me, it has shown who I am as a person.
“I am a confident player. Some people probably don’t like that, but I think I am ready to take that step up and play week-in and week-out.”
Lilley admits it was difficult to re-integrate himself into the Leeds side after spending most of his time with Bradford in recent months.
“It was good to get back out there with the boys and they were so good during the week with me,” he said.
“I hadn’t been there for months on end so structures and that sort of stuff they’ve been putting in place is new to me, so the boys helped me in the week and out on the field.
“But it was my first game back in Super League and it’s a lot faster. I have had to adapt to that. 20 minutes in I was blowing and my legs were feeling it afterwards, but that’s the standard and the step up.
“I did alright and we got the win. That was the most important thing for me.”
As he now looks ahead to Sunday’s game with Salford, Lilley admits last Thursday’s victory was one Leeds’ class of 2016 may not have been able to achieve with so many big names absent.
He said: “We’ve got players out there playing well. It was a game last year we probably would not have won, but it shows the character in the group and how we’ve come back from what happened last year.”