TONY Smith is excited by the prospect of youngster Joe Philbin and expects the Academy graduate to make his debut against Hull KR.
The back-rower scored four tries in the under 19s win over Hull KR last week and has been training with the first team squad to aid his development this season.
Richie Myler and Michael Monaghan added to Wolves’ injury concerns this week, offering the chance for Smith to call in Philbin and fellow 19-year-old George King.
“There’s a fair chance he will get a spot on our bench this week,” said Smith of a player who came through the ranks at Culcheth Eagles and Latchford Albion.
“Bit excited about this, about Joe joining the ranks, so in among missing some players through injury it’s an opportunity for some to come through and step up.
“He’s been in great form for the under 19s this week and has had a couple of games at Swinton, where he handled himself very, very well.
“He’s been with us all week, he’s with us each week in the full time squad, we’ve seen that as a way of bringing him through the ranks a little bit quicker, he’s responded to that he’s been terrific in the full time squad all year.”
And Smith is confident Philbin’s call-up has gone down well with the rest of the squad.
“I think the senior players are actually excited about Joe’s selection and that’ll be great for him,” he added.
“He’s delighted, he’s a lovely kid, lovely natured and a terrific competitor on the field, but he was like a Cheshire cat there this morning when he was told that he was being considered.”
Rhys Evans is one of the those first-teamers to take a keen interest in the forward’s development.
“He’s joined us full time this year and he’s been really good,” said the winger.
“I’ve been down to watch him a few times for the Academy this year and he’s done really well.
“He played last week and scored four tries so he’s been playing well and hopefully he can take his chance.”
The other Academy player to make Wolves’ 19-man squad this week is George King, he and his brother Toby were promoted to Wolves’ first-team full-time training squad in March after impressing with the under 19s.
The prop joined the club from Huddersfield Academy during the off-season.
He played his early amateur rugby alongside his brother, a centre, at Meltham All Blacks amateur club in their hometown of Huddersfield and were spotted by the club’s Yorkshire scout Tommy Gleeson.