TOM NICHOLSON-WATTON is looking to make an impact in his season-long loan spell with the York Knights

The Knights loanee steadily impressed on his debut against Doncaster last Sunday, despite York slipping to a 36-20 on the opening day of the Betfred Championship season. 

But Nicholson-Watton is eager for Andrew Henderson's side to bounce back against Toulouse next Sunday (3pm) at the LNER Community Stadium, in a league which the Leeds Rhinos loanee is accomplished within. 

“It is a tough league; it is rugged, fast and technical. It is a really good league for a player like me to develop in," Nicholson-Watton told the Yorkshire Evening Post.

“It is just about getting minutes and gaining experience off players around me. I have got a great set of older middles at York with loads of experience - like Jordan Thompson and Connor Fitzsimmons - who I can get little tips off.

"It is about playing with them, learning the ropes and progressing.

“I was playing as an extra middle. I don’t mind playing a bit with the ball; my game is mostly run hard, tackle hard, effort areas, but I have got that ability to ball-play if it’s needed and if the coach wants that, I can provide it.”

"They (Doncaster) were a tough side and we didn’t really play to our strengths or compete hard enough in certain areas.

“But it’s a lesson learned and we’ll review it and come back stronger.

“In the Championship it is about working hard and beating the man in front of you and the opposition in front of you.

"It is a little bit different to Super League, but I really enjoyed it - it was a learning curve and a short, sharp lesson we will take into Toulouse next week.”

Nicholson-Watton is a highly-rated prospect at Leeds, with the 21-year-old featuring under Head Coach Rohan Smith's Rhinos' pre-season.

The young loanee admitted that he didn't initially want to make the move away from Leeds, but felt it was pivotal that he was gaining valuable first-team minutes, whilst continuing to train with both York and the Rhinos as he looks to continue improving.

Nicholson-Watton admitted: “I don’t want to go away from here [Leeds], but it is important I am playing.

"If something happens and I am needed here, I will be ready to go because I have been playing at a good level in the Championship.

“I come in and do some bits and I train with York on an evening.

“I am definitely not over-training, I check with the coaches and performance staff on a morning, see if there’s anything else I need to do, then go and training with York in the evening.

"Leeds is my parent club and I am just focussing on improving my rugby, playing good rugby and I’ll see where I go from that.”

“I really enjoyed pre-season. I felt like I had a big pre-season and developed really well.

“I felt like I put in a good performance for myself and for the team in the pre-season games.

"Hopefully this year is just about building on that and progressing even more. I am only 21, but if you are good enough, you’ll play - that’s what it’s all about."

Nicholson-Watton may be featuring in the Championship this season, but he did enjoy a spectacle of a Betfred Super League debut with Leeds last year, something which he hopes to witness again one day.

“It was nice at the end of last year when my work in the Championship was rewarded with a Super League debut," The 21-year-old enthused.

"Hopefully if I play a few more Championship games this year I can get a few more Super League games under my belt.”