Castleford Tigers have in the past produced some wonderful talent over the years, and it is no surprise that their talent litters the leagues with the likes of Daryl Clark, Greg Eden, Adam Milner, Michael Shenton, Craig Huby, Joe Westerman and Jordan Thompson who are just some of the Castleford born-and-bred stars to make it in the sport. More recently, the production line has somewhat stalled with only Tom Holmes coming through to the first team and even he has departed for Championship side Featherstone Rovers. However, there is a new kid on the block, possessing a maturity that belies his youthful age of 18, that could take Super League by storm in the next few years.

Jake Trueman

After Bradford Bulls were once more experiencing financial difficulty - having been placed in liquidation - in January 2016, 17-year-old Jake Trueman took the opportunity to sign for Castleford Tigers. With the ability to play either stand-off or scrum-half, Trueman was not expecting to break into the first team in the 2017 season as eventual Man of Steel winner Luke Gale and Samoan stand-off Ben Roberts would hit the form of their lives.

However, with Luke Gale undergoing an appendectomy just 16 days before Castleford's semi-final home clash with St Helens, Trueman was given the chance to take his place away at Wigan in mid-September. The Warriors, by this point, were desperately trying to claw back the distance between themselves and St Helens in fourth and would have been given a major boost with the news that Gale - arguably the Tigers' best player in 2017 - was absent and that his replacement was an 18-year-old that had been part of the young Castleford side that had been swept aside by Wigan in the academy Grand Final just a fortnight prior to this game.

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Tell that to Trueman; a first-half masterclass saw him register a hat-trick as well as an assist for Greg Eden's try as the Tigers were simply too strong for Wigan, going in 0-20 at the break. Though Bradford-born Trueman had a quieter second half, his influence was still there to see, commanding the team around the field and controlling the game to quell any hope of a Warriors' fightback.

Trueman had already made his debut for the Tigers in the 16-12 home victory over St Helens in June, but this was merely a cameo off the bench in the last ten minutes. Against Wigan however, the wily half-back had delivered a competent and assured display to end the Warriors' top four ambitions.

Trueman would keep his place for the Tigers' last home game of the regular season. And, although Hull FC thrashed Castleford 16-48, the young half-back still showed up well with a few nice touches and an aggressive defence that defied his slight stature.

Hopes for 2018

With Zak Hardaker absent from the Tigers' full-back spot for 2018, head coach Daryl Powell has earmarked Ben Roberts to fill this gap.

New signing Jamie Ellis is therefore likely to take Roberts' place in the halves. Yet Ellis will have Trueman breathing heavily down his neck. Still a teenager, Trueman has an extremely bright future ahead of him and Castleford acted quickly to tie him down to a three-year deal in December 2017. Now settled and with an increase in confidence every time he takes to the field, 2018 could be something special for one of the most talented half-backs in the English game. #RugbyLeague #castlefordtigers #RL