Giant Dominic Young has played just two Super League games and doesn’t turn 20 until August – but is already being tipped to make waves Down Under.
The Huddersfield academy product is one of a trio of teenage Englishmen that have headed to Australia’s unforgiving NRL with minimal first team experience.
Young has been joined at Newcastle Knights by former Castleford utility back Bailey Hodgson, while ex-Wigan forward Harry Rushton has made it a quintet of Brits at Canberra Raiders.
But unlike England stars George Williams and Elliot Whitehead, the three 19-year-olds have chosen to test themselves in the sport’s top domestic level at the start of their careers.
And 6ft 6 centre Young has made an immediate impact – scoring one try and making another in his first Knights trial game.
It means he is already fielding questions about whether he can make the starting line-up when the NRL season kicks off in two weeks. Young said: “I’ve always had a lot of confidence and have always backed myself.
“I wouldn’t feel out of place if the coach put me in there. When I first got here I just wanted to take everything in and see what everything’s about. But now I’ve got through pre-season I really want to crack first grade.
“This year I’m looking to get a place in that 17 and hopefully I’ll be able to do that. I need to keep working hard in training, get the respect of everyone and see what happens.
“We’ve got a lot of good players here and that naturally lifts the pressure and intensity at training.”
Young will on Saturday morning have his second hit-out for the Knights against champions Melbourne Storm, who were among several other NRL clubs chasing his signature.
With injuries in the Newcastle backline, it could be the perfect opportunity to seal a starting place when they take on Canterbury Bulldogs on March 12.
And Young believes he has made the right decision to head to Australia earlier rather than try and establish himself in Super League first. He added: “I wanted to improve as much as I could, and obviously the NRL’s the best competition.
“I came here to test myself against the best players. I thought getting out there as young as possible was only going to help me in the long run.”