THOMAS HEMINGWAY is finally hoping to celebrate his new life as a hooker by savouring Super League XIII success for the first time.
The 21-year-old former England schoolboys half-back or full-back has made a highly successful switch to the No9 role this season, earning praise from head coach Jon Sharp for the way he has played in the last four games.
In that time, the Giants have secured just one victory, at Halifax in the Challenge Cup, with Hemingway getting his chance on the back of George Gatis’s departure back to Australia to help sort out the family seafood business.
But Hemingway’s displays have been one of the eye-catching features, and he hopes it won’t be long before he is able to taste Super League success on the back of another solid performance.
And he would be delighted if that could happen against Hull KR at the Galpharm, tomorrow (3.00).
“It’s disappointing that I’ve had my chance on the back of George having to return home,” said Hemingway.
“It was sad to se e him leave, because he’s a massive loss to us, but fortunately it opened up a door for me and I’m really pleased to be in there.
“And it’s really strange how my chance has come along.
“I obviously came to the club as a half-back and that’s where I originally saw my future.
“But since moving to hooker at the start of the season I don’t really think I’ve looked back. I now regard myself as a fully-fledged No9.
“I have to admit I’ve found it tough, but it’s also enjoyable. You are right in the firing line and in the middle of the park among the big guys.
“But that’s where Jon (Sharp) wants me to play, and I now feel more comfortable there than I have done anywhere else on the field.
“It obviously helped playing in the Reserves and I feel the time I spent playing at nine made the adjustment easier. To be honest, I think I’ve taken quite quickly to the position.
“But I’ve been fortunate enough to learn off some good hookers who have been at the club, and that’s helped in my development.
“The fact I’ve played half-back during my career has probably helped me with aspects of my game at hooker and playing with good players can only help you and aid your development.
“The lads are fantastic at passing on their experience. The most important thing is that they want to help you, and they want to ensure you better yourself.”
As well as having responsibility as a major Giants playmaker, Hemingway also has a role as a frontline goalkicker, which is something he has always taken in his stride.
“I’ve always enjoyed taking the kicks at goal, whatever the level,” he added.
“Every player practices differently and, to be honest, I don’t tend to practice a great deal on my goalkicking.
“It’s something that I find comes quite naturally. I think it was Jon (Sharp) who actually taught me the swing. I find that the little practice I do, the better it is for me.
“But it’s obviously a very important part of the game, and hopefully I’ll soon be kicking goals that help us win matches, hopefully starting against Hull KR tomorrow.
“Personally, I just want to nail down a spot for the rest of the season and to play well on a consistent basis.
“From a team point of view we want to try and build a bit of momentum for the second half of the season.
“There are still 28 points to play for, so the season is far from over yet. Everyone is still positive and the mood in the camp is good.
“It’ll obviously be even better when we start winning again!”