MAX JOWITT has had to bide his time to get a decent run as Wakefield Trinity’s full-back so – now he has it – has no intention of giving up the role easily.
Although he debuted in 2014, and performed terrifically at times, the youngster has found himself largely looking in from the outside since the experienced Scott Grix arrived from Huddersfield Giants ahead of last season.
The Ireland international was a big hit last term so Jowitt found himself loaned to Oxford and on dual-registration terms with Dewsbury Rams. This campaign started out in a similar vein, too.
However, Grix injured his shoulder against Hull KR at the start of last month and could be out for up to 12 weeks.
In the 34-year-old’s absence, Jowitt has played four of the five matches since and is expected to do so again tomorrow when Chris Chester’s side host Widnes Vikings.
He said: “You never want anyone to get injured but it’s been a bit of a blessing for me as it’s meant I have had a run of games.
“Hopefully I can carry it on and keep the spot even when Grixy is back fit again.
“That is what I have to do – prove I am worth that place. It has been frustrating at times not playing. I made my debut at 17 against Saints and then in 2016 had a breakthrough season.
“I played around 22 games when I wasn’t really expecting to.
“But Grixy came in and I only played three games last season.
“I couldn’t really complain given how well he played so I knew I had to bide my time.
“And I learn so much off him as well. I get to train with him, watch him play and pick his brains about the position.
“But Grixy is coming to the back end of his career now and I want to stake my own claim for the spot.”
Chester clearly has faith in him to do just that; the West Yorkshire club announced earlier this week that the 21-year-old has signed a new deal until the end of 2020 giving him that security and time to develop.
The homegrown Academy product knows he still has plenty to work on.
“For the last couple of years, Chezzy has asked me to mainly focus on the defensive side of my game and improving my tackling,” explained Jowitt, whose father Ian also played for Trinity.
“I’m working on my running lines, too, and you’re always looking to get better.”
Wakefield were unlucky not to beat high-flying Warrington Wolves last Friday, losing 32-30 despite scoring five tries to four. Chester makes just one change to his 19-man squad with James Batchelor replacing Justin Horo.
Bottom-placed Widnes, on a 10-match losing league run, make seven alterations with ex-Kiwi centre Krisnan Inu and prop Gil Dudson both back from long-term injuries.
The original game in March was abandoned due to a freak snow storm but Jowitt said: “We’ve spoken about it in training – if we don’t turn up with the right attitude for this game Widnes will turn us over.
“They haven’t been playing well but have showed in patches what they can do.”