HUDDERSFIELD Giants teenager Jake Wardle enjoyed a dream debut after admitting coming through some “dark times” with injuries.
The 19-year-old centre scored two tries in Friday’s 28-18 win over Widnes Vikings, the club’s first victory in six games.
It was an impressive first appearance but all the more pleasing given what the academy product had already gone through just to get to that point.
He had endured a wretched two years with injuries and Halifax-born Wardle said: “It has been really tough, to be honest. I’ve been in a few dark places.
“I managed to do my cartilage in my knee on three occasions and then in my first game back in pre-season against Wakefield I managed to fracture my ankle,” he added.
“I did have a tough run of injuries but with the help of the boys especially I’ve managed to get through it and just always had that end goal in sight.
“I’ve managed to make that goal tonight.
“Hopefully those injuries are in the past now and I can carry on,” he said.
Interim head coach Chris Thorman certainly believes the player has a bright future saying he is one of the best teenagers he has ever seen.
Having helped Huddersfield lift off bottom, Wardle will now hope to retain his place in Friday’s Ladbrokes Challenge Cup tie against Wakefield Trinity.
On his eventful debut – Wardle was also yellow-carded for a dangerous tackle late on – he said: “It was unbelievable.
“It was a dream come true really with me and (19-year-old scrum-half) Ollie Russell both on debut.
“But the most pleasing thing was it was such a good team performance.
“With the yellow card, I tried making the right read in defence but it was probably the wrong tackle choice.
“I managed to get in a bit of an awkward situation but we’ll see how that is when we review it.
“I was a bit nervous when they scored that try straight after but the boys dug deep and manage to keep them scoreless after that.”