Jacob Liddle a star in waiting
Wests Tigers Holden Cup graduate Jacob Liddle is yet to establish himself as a household name, but he's already earned glowing endorsements from his senior teammates throughout the pre-season.
While Liddle missed out on NRL selection for Round 1, with Manaia Cherrington named in the No.9 jersey in place of injured senior players Robbie Farah and Matt Ballin, there is a belief the youngster will get his chance sooner than later.
One man who knows Liddle better than most is his under-20s coach from last season, Brett Kimmorley. The 307 NRL game veteran likes what he sees, and is confident his former pupil will be a future star of the game.
"He's an outstanding kid," Kimmorley said.
"He's a kid from the Central Coast and played one year of 20s. He's a great runner of the football. He's a big kid for a hooker and quite athletic. There were times when you thought he could ease his way through 80 minutes, but because of his physical wellbeing, we decided to look after him [and give him a rest]."
Liddle played 23 games for the Tigers in the Holden Cup last year, scoring eight tries and making 755 tackles in an all-round display that saw him earn the player's player award.
Having played Australian Schoolboys in 2014, the 19-year-old is fast becoming one of the premier number nines coming through the NYC system.
While he impressed with his speed and vision out of dummy-half, his former coach didn't want to see him rushed into the NRL before he was ready.
"Mentally he's ready, but it's the physicality of it all that you have to be careful of," Kimmorley said.
"He'll play first-grade, I can tell you that. He'll have a career in the game. He's a talented footy player, but whether he's ready or not, I'm not quite sure.
"He's trained hard over the summer. I think he played for the NSW Cup side in the trial against Newtown. Sometimes you'd hate to see young guys thrown into the deep end too soon."
Liddle will take on Manly in the Intrust Super Premiership this weekend.