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Bradford Bulls debut was a dream come true, says Curtis Naughton
Curtis Naughton has described his Bulls debut as the “experience of a lifetime” and set his sights on establishing himself in Francis Cummins’ plans further next year.
The 18-year-old full back from Dewsbury enjoyed a highly impressive first-team bow in Saturday’s 58-6 home win over Huddersfield.
After becoming a full-time professional along with Sam Wood and Oliver Roberts at the start of the year, Naughton was delighted to get a taste of Super League on the final day of the season.
“Playing against Huddersfield on Saturday was an experience of a lifetime for me,” said Naughton, one of five Academy players to make their first-team debut this year.
“Getting my debut in the last game of the season was obviously the greatest moment in my career so far and I loved every minute of it.
“There is a lot of pressure in my position with me being a full back. The game was a lot quicker than I’m really used to as well but I really enjoyed it.”
Naughton’s fine debut was all the more satisfying after he was struck down by a knee injury when playing for the Academy side in their opening game of the season against Wakefield in February.
That sidelined him for several weeks as he explained: “In the first game of the season I snapped my knee so I’ve had to do it tough and to come back makes it even better.
“I’ve worked hard to get here and I’ve got my shot in the end which is just great.”
Bulls coach Cummins revealed after Saturday’s game that Naughton has taken time to adjust to the demands of a full-time Super League environment.
The teenager is already looking forward to next season with confidence and says he has the perfect mentor in Brett Kearney, who missed Saturday’s match through injury.
“Any player coming from the NRL is a going to be have a lot of experience and be a good player so it’s great for me to learn off someone like Brett,” said Naughton, pictured.
“He’s been great with me and I remember watching him in the NRL as a kid. He’s someone I really admire and he’s a great mentor for me.
“If I keep training hard now in the off-season hopefully I’ll get a few more games under my belt next year.
“I need to just get a lot fitter in pre-season because I basically had to do two pre-seasons this year after coming back from my injury.
“I’m going to work hard and smash it and I can’t wait to get out there again next season.”
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