Castleford's problem at fullback has been well documented ever since Zak Hardaker was omitted from the Castleford squad in the build up to the 2017 Grand Final. Ben Roberts was entrusted by head coach Daryl Powell to take the No.1 spot in the off-season and had played at the back in the Tigers' opening four games. However, midway through Castleford's clash with bitter rivals Leeds at Elland Road in round five, Roberts was moved back to his natural stand-off position with Jake Trueman coming off the bench - replacing Jamie Ellis - and taking up the fullback position. Since then, the former Bradford halfback has gone from strength to strength in the fullback role, almost quashing concerns that the Tigers need to bring another fullback to the club.

Unusual position

For Trueman - a halfback by nature - moving to the fullback position is a fairly big upheaval. After previously playing for amateur side West Bowling, Trueman was snapped up by Bradford Bulls to play at No.6 or No.7. With Bradford's financial problems worsening, Trueman was given an opportunity to make the step up to Super League by Castleford in late January 2017. Though he came off the bench in the Tigers' surprise 16-12 victory over St Helens in June, he was given little more than ten minutes on the field.

It was in mid-September when the highly-rated Trueman was finally given a starting berth after Luke Gale was sidelined with appendicitis. Against Wigan, the youngster scored a hat-trick and won the Man of the Match award, announcing himself to the rest of the league in impressive fashion.

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However, in the three appearances that he made in 2017 as well as his first in 2018 - away at St Helens - Trueman played at half-back.

Elland Road

Powell's decision to therefore throw on Trueman to take the No.1 spot at Elland Road in what had the atmosphere of a final was one which could have gone either way. Many others would have struggled with this limelight, particularly as Leeds kept peppering the youngster with high balls in an attempt to force a mistake. But, Trueman stood firm, appearing to suit the role much better than Ben Roberts had done up to that point in 2018.

Against Wakefield, Trueman was once more given the fullback spot. In what were diabolical conditions, he again handled everything that was thrown at him, defying his teenage years by giving an incredibly assured performance at the back. In the Mend-a-Hose mudbath on Easter Monday, the 19-year-old was again handed the No.1 position. Despite one or two errors, Trueman looked calm and collected and did extremely well to field some very good Warrington kicks.

Better conditions

Trueman has displayed competent defending skills in his two-and-a-half games so far at fullback, but the conditions in those games have hardly been conducive to a side known for their attacking flair. Daryl Powell has waxed lyrical about the extraordinary things that Trueman can do in training; surely this means that it is just left for the conditions to improve for Castleford fans to see Trueman in his best attacking light.

Whilst much of the Castleford faithful have been wanting to see someone from outside the club take over the No.1 shirt, it appears as though Trueman could well be making those fans eat their words. The fact that Trueman only signed a new three-year deal in December 2017 shows that he will be at the club for a long time. Perhaps, he is Castleford's long-term solution to fill the fullback role.