York City Knights coach James Ford was impressed with the way that four triallists stepped up in the opening pre-season game at Featherstone, including 16-year-old duo Miles Harrison and AJ Towse.
The Heworth pair both made their senior bows at the LD Nutrition Stadium alongside York Acorn’s Lewis Brown and Harry Bardle, who made one Super League appearance for Hull KR last season.
Ford said: “To get two 16-year-olds on the field alongside the other two triallists for us was great.
“It’s a massive step up for them, even against the Rhinos Academy lads that Featherstone played later in the game.
“They are still stepping up from Heworth under-16s to playing against lads who are in or near the England Academy squad, and it was a good marker for them.
“They can see where players at a similar age as them are at, and what they need to do to get to that level.
“They’re not quite ready for our first team, but I’m happy with the direction they’re going in.”
The quartet will remain on trial before Ford makes a decision on their futures.
He added: “We’ll have a look at them again and make a decision after the friendlies.
“We don’t want to just take players from what is a rapidly improving community game in York and weaken it; we want to supplement it and we’re mindful of that.
“But at the same time, if players are ready then we’ll look to give them a chance.”
Ben Johnston suffered a slight hamstring issue at Featherstone, but Brad Hay and Perry Whiteley have both started running again, with Josh Jordan-Roberts and Jimmy Keinhorst also making progress in their recoveries from injury.