Mattie Wildie is the latest in the line of home-grown talent to make it through to the Wildcats first team in the Engage Super League.
The 18-year-old was called up by Head Coach John Kear to replace the injured Paul Cooke against Huddersfield Giants.
It wasn’t the easiest of Super League debuts as the team lost 58-6 but Wildie equipped himself well in a team that was under the cosh for the best part of an hour at the Galpharm Stadium.
Former Stanley Ranger Wildie has been a stand-out performer for the Wildcats’ Valvoline Cup this year and has earned the chance to stake a claim for a first-tam place.
Head Coach John Kear assessed Wildie’s contribution by saying: “Mattie did very well under the circumstances.
“We brought him into the side to do a very difficult job and he went about it manfully.
“It’s always difficult for a young player coming into an established team but given our form at the moment he did a remarkable job.
“He’s been pulling up trees in the reserve team and that’s been great for us. He forced us to sit up and take notice by the quality of his performances on the field of play.
“It’s a massive jump from reserve grade Rugby League to the Super League but Mattie made a great fist of it.”
This year the Wildcats have given other young players like Dale Morton, Aaron Murphy, Ben Gledhill, James Davey and Kieran Hyde outings in the Super League side.
Added Kear: “We’ve worked hard during the last three or four years to create the right kind of environment for young players.
“Last year we won the Academy Grand Final and some of the young men from that team have already been banging on the door.
“That’s what we want to see, young players competing for first team places and keeping the senior professionals on their toes.
“It was a tough game for Mattie at Huddersfield yesterday but he’s a great young player so he’ll have plenty of good days in Super League to come.”
Mattie said: “It was a great experience for me and although it was a difficult game for the team I enjoyed it.
“Defensively I did my job but I didn’t get much ball in attack due to the way the game went for the team.
“I found out on Friday morning that I was playing. John Kear called me when I was at home and then I rang all the family.
“It was a lot quicker than reserve grade rugby and I’d love another chance in the first team.”