HULL KR head coach Tony Smith says it will be a good time for young Will Dagger to “crack it” and live up to his potential as the club gets ready to be without star full-back Adam Quinlan.
Australian Quinlan is facing up to four weeks on the sidelines after injuring his ankle in the derby defeat at Hull FC.
Former Castleford Tigers rookie Dagger - who turns 21 next week and has just become a father - will step in at Leeds Rhinos on Friday.
His chances initially looked limited behind Quinlan, one of Rovers’ most influential players, and with five-try Ben Crooks and Greg Minikin making such excellent starts to the season on the wing.
Smith, who worked with Dagger previously at Warrington Wolves, said: “He had a very good off-season and pre-season; he’s put on size and strength.
“He deserves a chance really. He’s a young player who has had a lot of potential and done some good things but probably hasn’t quite just cracked it.
“Now would be a good time to crack it.”
Dagger is in the third and final year of his Robins deal since joining from Warrington.
On Quinlan’s injury, Smith added: “He’s had a couple of scans.
“He’s got some syndesmosis ankle damage but it’s pretty good news today actually.
“He won’t need an operation so we can just rehab it and it’ll probably be three or four weeks so that is good news.
“He’s a tough little thing; he did it when he scored his try the other night and played on without anyone really knowing.
“He’s got that bit of old school where he just gets up and on with things.
“It’s a blow but at the same time it could have been a whole lot worse; when you get that type of injury often they need a repair but the consultant’s happy for him just to rehab it.”
Smith also hopes to have former Rhinos hooker Matt Parcell fit for the first time this season and loose forward Jordan Abdull who missed Friday’s loss at old club Hull.
“Matt’s trained well so far this week so he’s a fair chance of being back this week,” said the coach, who also brings ex-Bradford Bulls half-back Joe Keyes into the 21-man squad.
“We’ll have one more run-out to make sure but he’s looked okay.
“Jordan (Abdul) will be there or thereabouts for Froday. It’s another able body back and in the mix for us. That’s a good thing.
“Joe Keyes is fit enough to make the squad but more likely to play reserves on Saturday.”
However, another ex-Leeds player - Mitch Garbutt - is still not fit after suffering a knee issue following the opening night win over Wakefield Trinity.
He will see a consultant tomorrow to assess cartilage damage although it is not the same problem the Australian endured last season.
Leeds, meanwhile, are still without captain Stevie Ward due to concussion.