WAKEFIELD Wildcats have a fine record of producing talented young players and that trend’s set to continue according to coach Glenn Morrison.
The Australian is in his first full year coaching the club’s under-20s team and he’s impressed by the depth of talent in his squad.
It was showcased in the recent Rugby League 9s competition when his young charges won the Plate competition, losing just two of their 15 matches.
Winger Sam Fletcher was the star of the show in the final, scoring a hat-trick to help Wakefield to victory.
And Morrison has highlighted the former Huddersfield Giant as one for the future.
“He’s really caught the eye of everybody,” said Morrison.
“All the fans that watch the 20s games and the coaching staff here have been impressed and I’m sure he’ll get a full-time contract next year.
“He’s not in full-time at the moment, he’s in college, but there’s been talk of maybe getting him in full-time for a few sessions even this year.
“If there’s a few injuries the outside-backs I’m sure he’d be one of the first ones getting called up.”
Fletcher’s success this season has even come as a bit of a shock for the player himself.
The 19-year-old arrived at Wakefield over the close season as a back-rower before Morrison converted him into a flying winger.
“The first hill session that we did he just looked to me like a really balanced athlete and runner,” Morrison said.
“I told him that I was going to convert him into a winger and he looked at me and laughed.
“We’ve done a fair bit of work developing him to become a winger and he’s been our stand-out player all year and unlucky not to get the player of the tournament in the 9s.”
He continued: “He’s one of those wingers who’s got plenty of pace and can finish a try but he rolls his sleeves up and he does the hard yards.”
Fletcher started his career with Hunslet Parkside and his performances caught the eye of Huddersfield Giants, who snapped him up on a three-year deal.
Injuries, including a broken leg, thwarted his spell with the Giants and the wing wizard is relishing his fresh start in Wakefield.
“It wasn’t easy at the start when I was converted to a winger but I feel a lot more comfortable now,” he said.
“I still need to work on things but I’m getting used to the new position.”
He continued: “Glenn Morrison’s great, he’s helped me out a lot and he’s someone the players look up to, he’s only just finished playing the game himself.”
Fletcher has just finished his A-Levels at college in Leeds and has started applying for jobs - he’s only on a one-year part-time contract with Wakefield.
He’ll be hoping his full-time career kicks-off with the Wildcats next season but he’s keeping his feet on the ground.
“I just need to keep playing how I’m playing and we’ll see what happens,” he said.
Fletcher will be part of the Wildcats U20s team to take on their Wigan counterparts at the Rapid Solicitors Stadium today, kick-off 2.30pm.
See this week’s Wakefield Express for all the latest sports news from around the district.