HE admits it was a baptism of fire.
But teenage back-row forward Mikey Wood is still feeling in buoyant mood after making a Super League debut for hometown club Huddersfield at Castleford Tigers last weekend.
The fact the Giants suffered a narrow 38-34 defeat to remain rooted to the foot of the Super League XXI table with eight defeats from their opening nine 2016 top-flight starts isn’t sitting comfortably with the former Slaithwaite Saracens junior.
As a lifelong Giants fans it’s hitting the 19-year-old hard.
Yet the ambitious Wood, who made his mark by helping England Under 18s beat the Australian Schoolboys 18 months ago alongside clubmates Tyler Dickinson and Liam Johnson, knows it’s far from all doom and gloom.
He firmly believes the spirit within the club will, at some stage, be reflected in much-improved on-field performances.
“I know just how much everyone is together, and that once we get a win everything will fall into place,” said Wood, whose mother Michelle was a Great Britain Ladies international RL player herself.
“And how close we are as a group was brought home to me again on the morning of the game.
“Because of the late withdrawals (Josh Johnson and Kruise Leeming with a virus and Kyle Wood a groin injury), I only found out I was playing at 9am that morning. I thought I’d be playing on loan for Newcastle that day instead.
“But as soon as I met up with the squad, everyone was coming up to me and giving me as much support as I needed. The boys are all sorted, and they were brilliant.
“Although that’s what I’ve come to expect from the squad. Even though the results haven’t been good, everyone is supporting each other and keeping each other’s spirits up.
“We all know we’re good enough to start picking up the wins, and that when we do we’ll quickly get back to our best.”
Wood knows that, in the short term, his chances to build on a first-team debut may be limited.
But he does believe he could handle the step up on a more regular basis.
“Because I’m not 20 until later this month I know I’ve got age on my side,” added the former Colne Valley High School pupil.
“And having had a brief taste of Super League (about five minutes) I know I’m capable of playing at this level. It’s actually given my confidence a boost.
“It is a lot quicker than playing in the Championship, but I did feel pretty comfortable out there.
“As someone who’s supported the Giants all my life, playing on Sunday was a dream come true.
“But my aim is to make sure this is just the start.”