FORWARD Colton Roche is getting ready to mix it with the big guys after joining Sheffield Eagles.
He’ll be the ‘baby’ of the forward pack after making the switch from Leeds Rhinos U20s.
“I have to step up and compete with the players who have been here for a while and earn their respect,” he said. “Hopefully I’ll get a chance in the pre-season, get on the bench and get into the team early.
“I have to get out there, do my best and get my skills up.”
Being released by Leeds was a blow but now the focus is on Sheffield with the utility forward set to challenge for a place in the back row.
“It was hard news but coming to Sheffield and playing in the Championship will better my game,” he said. “I want to work hard for the team. I can be quite explosive, pretty quick for a back rower, I can get about a bit.”
Roche was Mark Aston’s only forward signing ahead of the 2013 season but the Eagles’ boss had a chance to assess the player after picking him for Ireland in the autumn internationals.
“Colton had a baptism of fire in the internationals, he made his debut against a strong Scotland team and he got smashed in the first tackle but got up and played on and didn’t look fazed,” said Aston.
“He went up against the England Knights and ripped into them – big players and experienced Super League players.”
Aston added: “Colton won’t find it too difficult and the people around him at the club will help him develop. He’s got a big future and will be a kid people will take notice of. He can play front row, second row, he’s an athlete.
“We are going for mobility and speed and Colton has got all them.”