SAM Smith seems like someone who wants to make up for lost time.

The 20-year-old made his senior debut for Bradford Bulls in the Boxing Day win at Castleford Tigers, having missed out on the chance to face Barrow Raiders in the 1895 Cup in the summer when John Kear selected players who were younger than the centre.

Smith, who came on for the last 20 minutes at The Mend-A-Hose Jungle, felt elated to be in the squad for the 20-14 victory and admitted: "It has been a great journey and massive thanks to Leigh Beattie, Mark Dunning and John Kear for giving me the chance to show what I can do in pre-season.

"It feels great (making my debut). It is always something that I have wanted to do being a Bradford lad.

"It was great to get the win but it is a matter of steps for me - building towards the season and building towards the reserves, having just come out of the 19s.

"The whole team performance was great, and the leadership group helped the young lads who made their first step up like me and Shacky (half-back Harry Shackleton).

"All three half-backs (Rowan Milnes, Jordan Lilley, Harry Shackleton) were great, with Shacky coming on at the end.

"I owe a massive thanks to the leadership group, who gave me a bit of experience, little pep talks and calmed me down and enabled me to get out there and make it all worth it, and now it is just baby steps towards the season."

Smith, who scored two tries for Bulls reserves against Keighley Cougars reserves in their last game of the season in September, added: "It is a matter of getting all the processes right and building for that first (Championship) game against London."

He also showed his gratitude to the club's strength and conditioning team, saying: "Every pre-season is tough but it is worth it when you get there so massive thanks to the S&C team, especially Adam (Simpson)."