Hull KR interim coach Danny McGuire has predicted that Zach Fishwick will be “a real force” in the years to come.
The 17-year-old has signed a four-year professional contract with the club, completing a remarkable couple of months for the prop.
Fishwick, who already weighs in at 106kg, made his debut last month in the Hull derby at Magic Weekend and now has five first-team appearances to his name.
McGuire is confident that, with plenty still to learn, the former Skirlaugh Bulls junior will be a star of the future.
“He’s very mature for his age and he has the right balance,” said McGuire.
“He is still a bit naive; he understands he has a fair bit to learn. But he hasn’t looked out of place when he’s been called up.
“He will be a real force, although he will take a bit of time as a frontrower. He has the potential to be a great player for this club.”
Fishwick wasn’t the only 17-year-old in the Robins’ line-up at St Helens last week, as Connor Barley – nephew of former Hull KR star Paul Cooke – was handed a debut on the wing and scored a try in the defeat.
McGuire said: “It’s a reward for all the lads doing some really hard work underneath and providing us with players who are good enough to put into the first team.”
They have had to step up and learn fast, considering the volume of injuries piled onto McGuire, a rookie himself in the head coaching game.
Shaun Kenny-Dowall and Greg Richards were last week ruled out of their remaining fixtures with knee and hamstring injuries respectively.
Brad Takairangi, Jordan Abdull, Dean Hadley, Luis Johnson, Will Dagger, Tom Garratt, Charlie Cavanaugh and Dan Okoro will also play no further part in 2022.
But Matt Parcell, Korbin Sims and Ethan Ryan can all return from suspension for Thursday’s trip to Wakefield Trinity.
With a play-off place now highly unlikely, Hull KR’s focus may be switching to next year when James Batchelor joins from Wakefield Trinity.
Last week the 24-year-old forward was confirmed as their fifth signing for 2023, following Huddersfield Giants’ Louis Senior and NRL trio Rhys Kennedy, Tom Opacic and Jesse Sue.
“I’m at that point in my career where it’s not only about playing consistently, week-in week-out, but challenging myself and getting out of my comfort zone,” said Batchelor.
“I want to really kick on at KR and be challenging for things every year. I want to win some silverware. I think we can do something special as a team.”
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