LARNE PATRICK is hoping his Super League debut at Castleford Tigers is a taste of things to come.
The 20-year-old former England Academy utility forward produced a rock-solid 25-minute spell at The Jungle as the Giants dug deep to secure a 26-24 top-flight triumph.
Patrick has been told he will be 18th man for tomorrow’s home game against Harlequins.
But that has done nothing to dent his growing confidence after such a solid start to his Super League career.
“Obviously, I’d have loved Nathan (Brown) to have told me I was in the 17 for tomorrow,” said former Bulls junior Patrick.
“And I suppose if someone picks up an injury at the very last minute I could still play.
“But even if I do have to watch from the dug-out, I’ll be relatively happy.
“After all, this time last year, I didn’t have a clue where my career was going.
“I was playing for the Narrabeen Sharks in the Australian reserve grade competition, and I just wasn’t sure what my next step was going to be.
“But, fortunately, when I came back to England I had the opportunity to join the Giants, and I’m glad I took it with both hands.
“I’ve loved it here from day one. In fact, I’ve never enjoyed my rugby so much before.
“To be honest, when I first arrived, I expected to have to wait a fair while before making my Super League debut, so to have a run in round five caps a fantastic start to my time here.
“Coming here is the best move I’ve ever made.”
Although primarily a second-row forward, Patrick played at prop at Castleford – getting the nod ahead of the experienced Michael Korkidas – and felt more than happy in the role.
But he admits he’s prepared to play anywhere if it means he can get more Super League time under his belt.
“Whether I’m picked at second row or prop, I’ll be happy. In fact, I’ll even play on the wing if it’s in Super League!” he added.
“Now I’ve had my first taste of playing at this level, it’s definitely made me even keener to play in Super League again.
“Before I came on against Cas, I’d been told the physical nature of the game wasn’t that different to what I’d experienced in the Under 21s, it was just faster.
“And I can now vouch for that!
“It probably took me about five minutes or so to adjust to the pace, but once I got into it I absolutely loved it.
“I felt pretty comfortable, made a couple of good drives and didn’t make any mistakes in defence.
“As I said, I would have loved to be in the 17 tomorrow, but Nathan told me exactly why he’d made the change and that I should be pleased with the way I’d played, which I was.
“And I certainly wasn’t going to argue with him. He’s already taught me loads and made me a far better player, and I know I’ll reap the benefits in the future.”