TEENAGER Jordan Lilley described the moment he scored his first try for Leeds Rhinos as “brilliant” – and now hopes to help them rise up the Super League table.
The scrum-half, 19, scored in the second-half of Friday’s 20-18 win over Hull FC and, crucially, kicked all four of his goals as the defending champions ended their four-match losing run.
For Leeds-born Lilley, who played four games last season but has missed just one of Leeds’s dozen fixtures this term, it was a proud moment.
“It was brilliant,” he said, for more reason than one. “It means at the end of the year I am not going to have to do the ‘naked run’. I had to do it last year, it is a tradition for the group for those who don’t score a try throughout the season.
“It is good I won’t have to do it this time, but it was more important to get the try for the group and help us get back on winning ways and hopefully progress up the table.”
Lilley played the entire 80 minutes at No 7 having come off the bench or filled in at hooker at times this term for depleted Rhinos who had lost eight of their opening 10 league games
It was arguably his most assured display yet and he admitted: “I felt confident out there.
“I say every time I am interviewed I am a confident young man and I believe in my ability. There was some stuff out there that was a bit scratchy on my behalf and some kicks that I should have done better, but I am still learning.
“I am still learning the game and learning the position and the role I am meant to be playing in the team.
“It is coming for me. I am happy with my performance, but obviously I put a big emphasis on the stuff I did wrong and I want to improve that, rather than focusing on the stuff I did right, so I can get an overall, rounded performance.”
Leeds head to St Helens on Friday and, having moved up to tenth, Lilley believes they can still attain a top-right spot despite a wretched start to their title defence.
“Even when we are losing games and everyone’s writing us off, we’re still confident we will get there,” he said. “It is a long season.”