Hull KR's Keal Carlile: I'll prove I'm Super League class
HULL KR hooker Keal Carlile has had to be patient for chances to come his way since joining the Robins.
But now part of coach Craig Sandercock's squad week in and week out, he believes it is his form, not circumstances, which has brought his chance to shine.
In a side which has been calling out for consistency this season, Carlile has led the way.
He is the only Rovers player not to have missed a tackle so far this season.
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Nor has he conceded a penalty.
In fact, only one error has been chalked next to his name from the opening five games of the season.
If more Rovers players could boast those sort of statistics, more points would surely be on the board.
Carlile is certainly making the most of his run in the KR side following injuries to Lincoln Withers, and now a suspension for Josh Hodgson.
It means Carlile could even be asked to play a full 80 minutes at hooker this evening, something he says will suit him down to the ground.
The 22-year-old is determined to keep hold of his place in the team when Hodgson and Withers are ready to return.
And another consistent and solid performance in the capital against London tonight will give Sandercock a big decision to make.
"I've been given the nod at the start of the year and it's up to me not to let that standard drop," Carlile said.
"I have to keep playing well and not miss tackles, not make errors or give away penalties to make it hard for Craig to drop me. I am taking my chance.
"I've been lucky in terms of Lincoln having a few injuries and now with Josh being suspended this weekend.
"The ball is in my court now and it's up to me to keep my place. I'd like to think it will be a tough decision for Craig to drop me.
"You are only as good as your last game, though, and I have to back it up this week and help us get a good win at London.
"You can lose your place in the team very easily these days because there are a lot of quality players in this squad."
Having only made three appearances last season, Carlile insists he entered the new campaign confident of improving on that number by some way.
And he says he has always had confidence in his own ability.
"It's brilliant to get a run in the side. I've had a full pre-season and I'm benefiting from it," he said.
"I knew if I got a run of games, I'd be confident of doing a good job for the team, and I think I've proved to a few people that I can play at this level.
"I know it's only five games in to the season and I have to keep improving, but I'm sure the more I play, the more I'll improve.
"As long as I'm playing, I'm enjoying my rugby. It's the reason why we train all year and work so hard.
"Ever since I was five I've wanted to play Super League, and as long as I keep doing what I am, there's no reason why I can't keep playing at this level."
Rovers head to face a London side this evening which secured their first victory of the season last week, a 38-4 success at Salford City Reds.
Coming as Rovers shocked most pundits by beating Warrington, Carlile said both results showed how tight Super League is as a competition.
"Super League has shown this year that anybody can beat anyone else, so I wasn't too surprised by London's win at Salford," he added.
"As a team, if you are not on the ball and you're not completing your sets and your defence isn't good, you'll get found out. No team can go into a match thinking it's going to be easy because nobody is guaranteed a win.
"London will be full of confidence, but obviously we had a good win against Warrington and so our confidence is high too. But beating Warrington will mean nothing if we can't back it up.
"It should be a good game, but if we stick to our structures and systems we'll do well. We are 100 per cent focused and hopefully we can perform to our best."