Injury-ravaged Leeds Rhinos could turn to their academy as they attempt to deal with their mounting injury crisis.
Rhinos host Yorkshire rivals Castleford on Friday and could be without up to seven senior players.
They join Carl Ablett, Jami Peacock, Stevie Ward and Ben Jones-Bishop in the Leeds treatment room and, after slipping to a fourth straight defeat at Hull, the injuries are finally starting to affect the Rhinos’ form.
Brad Singleton and Liam Sutcliffe, who came through the Leeds academy, have both taken advantage of the club’s injury crisis recently and chief executive Gary Hetherington has backed other young Rhinos to do the same.
He said: “We have got an outstanding crop of young players and some of them are already knocking on the door of the first team.
“That’s our natural step, to look at our players in the academy. They had an outstanding win at Hull on Saturday and came up with a really good performance.
“I was there and there are players who will be very much in the frame for the first-team squad next season and that could be brought forward, as it has been with Liam Sutcliffe.
“It was never anticipated he would be playing for the Rhinos first team this season, but he has come in and shown he is more than capable of handling it.”