ELLIOT WALLIS has praised the Reserves system for keeping him in Rugby League.
The 22-year-old winger has signed a professional deal with Castleford Tigers after impressing for their second-string this year.
Wallis already has Super League experience, making four top-flight appearances for Hull KR in 2018.
But following loan spells with York and Bradford, he was released by the club in 2021 and signed for Coventry Bears in League One.
Wallis now admits that if it were not for Castleford signing him to play for their Reserves side this year, he might not have stayed to the game.
“Having had that time away from rugby, I thought I wasn’t going to play again but it has been quite refreshing to come back and realise I can play at this level,” said Wallis, who has signed a one-year deal with the option of a second season in the Tigers’ favour.
“If there wasn’t a Reserves system I might not be playing, or I’d be in a lower league perhaps a bit unnoticed, which at the moment I wouldn’t want.
“So, to step into the Reserves for a Super League club as good as Castleford has given me the opportunity to show what I can do a bit more.”
Wallis played three matches for Coventry’s new iteration, Midlands Hurricanes, on loan last year but he will now be challenging for a Super League spot.
Tigers head coach Lee Radford is confident he can make the step up and also credited the Reserves system.
“We gave Elliot a trial last season and his effort and attitude has been fantastic,” said Radford.
“Physically he ticks all the boxes that you would want from an outside back, so we will be working with him to develop his knowledge and his skill set. That is going to be our focus moving forward with him.
“For me, he was head and shoulders as one of our best Reserve team players in 2022.
“Elliot’s performances caught my eye, which earned him this deal, and it is a great advertisement that here at Castleford you can develop.
“For a kid to have time out of the game and come back, get an opportunity, and take it with both hands is a great promotion for the Reserve game.”