CAPTAIN Jack Lee has backed York City Knights team-mate Greg Minikin to get a shot at Super League in the next few years.
The hooker reckons the Knights have a “great mix” of youth and experience in their 2014 ranks, which will all be supplemented by a “very good” new dual-registration agreement with Castleford.
The most obvious example of that mix is in the centres where Wetherby teenager Minikin is likely to play alongside player/assistant-coach James Ford, his mentor during the latter’s time as under-20s coach.
Said Lee: “Greg Minikin is a class act. In a couple of years I think he might deserve a Super League shot. He’s a young Fordy isn’t he?”
Ford himself, who has played in the top tier, has previously joked that Minikin is a much better player at 18 than he was. When asked if the “apprentice was poised to take over from the master”, Lee said: “He’s keeping Fordy on his toes, put it that way.”
Lee, now set to start his fifth season at Huntington Stadium, was quick to point out that Minikin, who has scored in all of the last three friendly fixtures, is only one of many to have caught the eye in pre-season.
“Luke Hardcastle is a dark horse, and I’m glad to have Benn Hardcastle back at the club. He’s a very capable player and his kicking is brilliant,” said Lee.
“Ryan Mallinder will surprise a few this year. He will be really good. He’s really hard to stop and he never gives up for the full 80 minutes.
“We’ve got a really good mix this year. I think our pack will blow some teams away this year. If we keep everyone fit week in, week out, we will be unstoppable.
“There is the new dual-reg agreement as well.
“I think we’ve got a good relationship with Castleford and, if we can get a few of their good young kids who are knocking on the door of their first team, it will add to what we’ve already got.”
Asked if this partnership would prove better than the one with Hull, which was cut short, Lee said: “Daryl Powell (Cas boss) is a coach who wants everyone to be playing first-grade where possible. It will be good for both clubs.”