Jimmy Beckett says it is a “dream come true” for him to join the ranks at Featherstone Rovers.
The Castleford Tigers academy prop is a former Featherstone Lions player. The community club is situated just a few minutes from the LD Nutrition Stadium and Beckett admits signing for Rovers is beyond anything he could have imagined.
“It’s like a dream come true for any young lad from the local area and I just can’t wait to get started really,” he said.
“It’s not something I could have ever imagined when I watched the Rovers, or was a ball boy at the club.”
The 19-year-old was a ball boy during Rovers’ famous 23-16 Challenge Cup win over Castleford Tigers in 2012.
He continued: “I’d only just started playing myself when we beat Cas in the cup, so the years have gone quick since then.
“It’s weird to think of going from being a ball boy to wearing the kit and going out there myself.
“I’ve got a lot of passion for the club, so it will mean that bit extra for me, to actually go out there and play in front of the fans, who before I was stood with.”
Rovers chief John Duffy admitted that the club had tried to sign the youngster earlier this season. They were beaten to his signature by Super League neighbours Castleford Tigers.
But Duffy believes that move could have furthered Beckett’s development.
He said: “We missed out on him earlier in the year when Castleford got him, but in fairness, that might have helped his development, as he wouldn’t have got many games with us at that stage.
“So I’m glad he’s had a chance to prove himself at academy level.”
Rovers have also signed of Leeds Rhinos academy star Spencer Darley. He was part of the Rhinos side that just missed out on winning the academy grand final after a 14-6 defeat against Wigan.