Huddersfield-born Darnell McIntosh is living proof that the Huddersfield Giants Scholarship programme works.

After catching the eye playing for Newsome Panthers Under 14s, the former Shelley High School pupil was snapped up by his hometown club and rapidly shot up through the club’s ranks.

The lightning outside back shone as a 17-year-old in last season’s Under 19s Academy side and then impressed in the 2016 pre-season trial triumphs over Hull KR and Catalans Dragons.

With the Giants’ Super League XXI injury crisis taking its toll on forwards rather than backs, McIntosh is still waiting to make his Super League debut, although he has been in the 19-man squad on a couple of occasions.

But never once has he sulked at missing out. Instead, the disappointments have made him work even harder to improve – mental qualities that were instilled during his Scholarship days – and he’s now been rewarded with a full-time Super League contract until the end of the 2017 season.

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That doesn’t mean, however, McIntosh won’t continue to look to keep on getting even better.

“I was obviously over the moon when I was offered a deal,” said McIntosh.

“But I still haven’t fulfilled my ultimate dream – playing for the Giants in Super League.

“Hopefully, that’ll come before the end of this season, but if it doesn’t then I’ll try and do whatever it takes to make sure I’m playing Super League next season.

Darnell McIntosh.

“With the quality of the players in the squad that’s not going to be easy, I know that. But trying to get ahead of them will make sure I keep pushing myself to become even better.

“I’ve been lucky enough to train full-time with the rest of the boys since the back end of last season, so I know how much hard work it takes to make it to the top – and that’s where I intend to be one day.”

And McIntosh admits that the help he’s already received from the club’s senior Super League players, as well as the club’s Scholarship staff, has been massive for him.

“The advice the senior players freely give you is unbelievable,” he added.

“The other outside backs, in particularly, have been amazing. Leroy, Jerry, Joe Wardle and Scott Grix have been great.

“They give me advice all the time, and you can’t put a price on that.”