Jake Wardle ready to step out of Leroy Cudjoe's shadow at Huddersfield Giants

HUDDERSFIELD Giants forward Oliver Roberts has hailed the impact of teenage centre Jake Wardle, saying he could be as good as the club's captain and former England international Leroy Cudjoe.

The 19-year-old got a rare chance in the 29-18 win over Hull FC and looked the part as he produced two fine passes under pressure to set up Darnell McIntosh’s second-half brace.

Ireland second-row Roberts said: “Darnell’s 21 today and celebrated in style. He played very well and is a fantastic player.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

“He’s just coming on leaps and bounds and I’m really chuffed for him.

Stopped in his tracks: Hull FC's Jake Connor is tackled by Huddersfield's Jake Wardle and Aaron Murphy.

“But I’ve just been saying downstairs to some of the guys about Jake that when Leroy misses out Jake Wardle comes in and does exactly the same.

“He isn’t as good as Leroy yet but he’s not far off.

“As young as he is, he just stepped in and did brilliantly.

“He’d not played for a few weeks but he looked like he’d not missed a game. He’s a great talent.”

Academy product Wardle scored twice on his debut against Widnes Vikings in May but earned a three-game ban for an incident in the same match.

He got his chance on Thursday after 30-year-old Cudjoe pulled out due to a slight strain after the previous week’s loss at Hull Kingston Rovers.

That had been Huddersfield’s first defeat in six Super League games but they quickly got back on track against Hull to crucially rise back into the top eight.

Roberts, 23, admitted: “We needed that as last week’s performance wasn’t our best.

“To be fair, we didn’t start the way we wanted to. The first 20 or 25 minutes was a bit like what happened at Rovers but I thought Ryan Hinchcliffe played a massive role getting us back to our gameplan as did Paul Clough when he came on.

“They helped us do what needed to be done and that helped pull the game back for us.”

Huddersfield forged 19-6 ahead by half-time and never looked in doubt from there.

They host Wigan Warriors on Thursday before a trip to Castleford and they round off at home to Wakefield Trinity as they seek to avoid the Qualifiers.

“The next three games for us are massive,” admitted Roberts, with Cudjoe expected to be fit for next week.

“We’ve got Wigan here next and if we stick to the game-plan that we’ve been given by Simon (Woolford), Chris Thorman, Luke Robinson and Mark Andrews we’ll beat anyone.

“We just need to do what we’re told from the off and keep at it.”