Willie Poching has backed Corey Hall to make a big impact for Wakefield Trinity after the young centre made his debut against former club Leeds Rhinos.
Hall switched clubs in November, leaving Leeds to take up a two-year deal at Wakefield where he previously played scholarship rugby.
His first-team debut came on Boxing Day in the Wetherby Whaler Festive Challenge on familiar ground ay Headingley, as an inexperienced Trinity side went down to a 34-6 defeat against their West Yorkshire rivals.
However, the 20-year-old Hall did enough to be highlighted by his new boss Poching.
“I thought Corey Hall really kept himself busy and was effective with some of his quality carries,” said Poching, who is in his first pre-season as Wakefield head coach.
“He’s going to be a really good acquisition for us and play to the side’s strengths.
“Obviously he had some motivation coming back (to Leeds) and he wanted to play well, and he did that.”
Hall was far from the only young player putting on a Wakefield shirt on Boxing Day, with Covid issues and injuries in the week ahead of the match resulting in some late changes to the squad.
Lewis Murphy scored the first – and Trinity’s only – try of the game while Robbie Butterworth also started and three others, including Willie’s son Kobe Poching, came off the bench.
“I thought all the young guys acquitted themselves really well,” said boss Poching.
“Lewis Murphy was outstanding on the wing, and he’s going to get better and better. He has raw pace and that’s invaluable to a team.
“Kobe, Ollie Farrar, Charlie Abraham and Robbie Butterworth who started at fullback for us, all four of those kids came in from reserve grade and did themselves proud.
“It’s heartening for us as a coaching staff that, if needed some time during the season, we can go to those depths.”
Praise was also given to the senior players who were available including Tinirau Arona, who “was immense for us in his leadership” according to Poching, and fellow prop David Fifita, who was due to sit the game out but offered his services on Christmas Day.
“To get a phone call from David Fifita putting his hand up speaks volumes of his character,” said Poching.
“I asked him to do 15-20 minutes and he ended up doing about 40, which is immense when he thought on Friday that he wasn’t going to be involved.
“If we have our senior players setting standards like that, we’ll be okay.”
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