Game time is the key to any young player’s progression and Ben McNamara had plenty of it this year as he continues to learn his trade with Hull FC.
The 19-year-old was a regular member of the Black and Whites’ line-up this season, making 11 Super League appearances either at hooker or half-back.
Despite only making his senior debut last year, he was the man Brett Hodgson looked to and trusted most when either Josh Reynolds or Marc Sneyd had an injury and more often than not, he was involved in the 21-man squad.
Of course, the 2021 season is unlikely to live long in the memories of FC’s supporters as the club lost nine of their last 10 games of the competition and missed out on the play-offs.
However, McNamara will look back at what was ultimately his first uninterrupted and full campaign in the senior set-up as a valuable learning experience, taking plenty from every fixture he played a part in.
“I got a good few starts playing half-back which is obviously what I want and I did some spells off the bench at hooker and things like that,” he told Hull Live.
“I was happy with it and when I spoke to Brett in my end of season review he said he was proud of how much I’d played for a young kid.
“It was really important for me, I don’t think I’ll look back on it as one of the highlights of my career but it was probably one of the most important in terms of learning what it’s like being in the team in back to back weeks and adapting to the level that I need to be at to play Super League.
“From the start of pre-season I felt like Brett had a lot of faith and trust in me, especially for someone my age.
“With Shaully coming back towards the end of the year we had a few more options that meant I wasn’t straight in the team, but that’s not something I want to shy away from, competition is everything and if I’m going to get to where I want to get to, I’m going to have to compete against the top players, I enjoyed that.”
He added: “When a team’s not going too well and you’re not in the hottest form individually, it might appear as though you aren’t full of confidence, but I don’t think I ever let my head drop.
“I’ve always backed myself and I’m confident in my ability. I’m still full of confidence.”