"THE locals love him!"

So said York City Knights boss James Ford of Joe Porter, after the York-born packman's notable rise out of the community game hit new heights in Sunday's memorable Ladbrokes Challenge Cup clash against Catalans Dragons.

The former York Acorn amateur scored two tries in four magical minutes during Sunday's tie, with BBC commentator Dave Woods exclaiming it the "day of Porter's dreams" as James Ford's men went on to push the star-studded Super League side almost to the wire.

Ford also hailed the 25-year-old's bravery in punching above his weight in forward exchanges - the 92kg Porter regularly going up against bigger men in League One, and probably more so on Sunday when faced by full-time Catalans props weighing 110 to 120kg.

"Joe should be immensely proud of his efforts. They were outstanding," said Ford of Porter.

"He came off the bench and impacted on the game in a really positive way.

"Eighteen months ago, he was playing for York Acorn and now he’s doing that against Catalans Dragons.

"He works really hard in training and he has come on in leaps and bounds.

"He's got that thing inbuilt in him that he's never beaten, he never gives in.

"He's not the biggest but he uses his speed and power."

Porter is also seen as a shining example for aspiring local youngsters at community clubs, having won a contract at his hometown pro team following a successful trial prior to last season.

He went on to play 17 times in 2017 and earn an extended deal, and he has so far featured in seven of the Knights' nine games this term - including bagging the sponsors' and The Press man-of-the-match accolades on Sunday.

Referring to the team's part-time status, compared to the Dragons' full-time advantages, Ford smiled: "Joe is a painter and decorator - and I’m going to try to get him to come and paint my house."

He added: "The locals love him and quite rightly so."

Sunday's tie - in which the Knights pushed their top-flight opponents for most of the match before succumbing 34-22 - also saw Jake Butler-Fleming make his second debut for the Knights, having rejoined the club on loan from Toronto Wolfpack, to whom they sold him on the eve of the season.

Said Ford: "It's great to have him back. He's a great guy and I love working with him. He gives us a bit more strike on the edges. There's more to come from him - it will just take a little time for him to re-gel back into our systems."