HAVING won the man-of-the-match in his first two games as a senior player, it would be easy for Huddersfield Giants youngster Jared Simpson to believe he has already made it in Super League.
However, for all his heroic exploits against Wigan Warriors and Warrington Wolves, the 19-year-old knows he is not guaranteed anything.
Simpson is yet to secure a full-time deal with his hometown club – he has featured so far part-time – although that seems a formality now given the rich pedigree of the dashing full-back’s opening couple of matches.
But he still lives with his parents at home – father Roger is a former Bradford Northern and Batley Bulldogs full-back – and knows his place in the team at Widnes Vikings next weekend is far from secure.
However, what a start it has been. Simpson came in for the suspended Scott Grix against Wigan, scored a stunning try within just six minutes, made a brilliant break soon after and generally looked as assured as any No 1 in the competition.
Although that ban was served, Giants coach Paul Anderson refrained from recalling former Ireland captain Grix for Sunday’s fixture with Warrington.
Teenager Simpson got the nod again and duly repaid him once more with another virtuoso try-scoring display, this time as the Claret and Gold secured a 30-19 win in a highly-charged and sometimes spiteful encounter.
Speaking to The Yorkshire Post, he admitted: “It has been a good start and I never expected it to go as well as it has.
“It’s been faster than I thought it’d be, especially in that second half against Wigan. I never expected that.
“But I’m loving it. I was happy Baloo (Anderson) kept me in.
“It’d have been pretty easy to bring Grixy back as he’s a good player and really experienced.
“But he told me I’d played really well in that first game and it’d been a tough call with me and Grixy but that I was playing.
“I was really happy. And now I have to keep training hard and hopefully get the nod for Widnes.”
It is hard not to make comparisons with his father; Simpson senior was a dynamic, elusive runner of the ball, difficult to tie down and always looking for a gap and open ground.
Had he been a big influence in pointing him towards a rugby league career?
“No, not really,” insisted Simpson, whose slightness had originally – but not now – concerned Anderson.
“He let me do my own thing and it was my cousin actually who asked if I fancied a game with Moldgreen when I was about 10. I gave it a go and loved it.
“But everyone keeps coming up and telling me my dad’s really happy which sounds alright with me. They say they’ve never seen him smile so much.
“I don‘t really remember him playing when I was growing up. I’ve seen the DVDs, though and every now and again I’ll get them out and watch him with Batley and Bradford.”
The 30-19 victory over Warrington was huge for the West Yorkshire side as it put space between them in fourth and their opponents who dropped to sixth.
“It was a really good win,” admitted Simpson, who came up with one crucial tackle and scored his second try for the club after half-time.
“The first half was a bit scrappy but the second came to life and we managed to get the points.
“Conditions didn’t really help but we got the job done and it was great to get my first win in Giants colours.
“I’m still on an Academy contract. Obviously. I’d love to hopefully go full-time and that’s the goal now.
“There’s been some talks but nothing sorted just yet and we’ll just have to wait and see what happens. All I can do is keep working hard on my game but I am really enjoying it here.”
Simpson – who surprised England duo Matty Smith and Joel Tomkins with his acceleration when scoring on debut against Wigan – is one of a batch of homegrown youngsters currently making strides at Giants.
He said: “It’s really good to see the Huddersfield guys coming through.
“There’s already Leroy (Cudjoe), Jerry (McGillvary) and Bruno (Michael Lawrence) but there’s a couple more young ones coming through, too.
“I finished college last year so am just training with the Academy now and coming in to train with the first team when they need me.
“The goal for us is the top four and hopefully we can take another step towards that when we go to Widnes on Sunday. But that’s always a tough place to visit – and I don’t know if I’ll be in or not.”
Meanwhile, Warrington prop Anthony England, 28, could be banned for eight matches after being charged with a Grade E spitting offence against Huddersfield captain Danny Brough.
Sin-binned for fighting with Brough on Sunday, he faces the disciplinary panel tonight and any suspension will see him miss Friday’s game at Hull KR.