Tony Smith's encouraging Hull FC future comment after Harvey Barron showing

Tony Smith was delighted to finally give young Hull FC winger Harvey Barron a first-team appearance. The 20-year-old lined up on the right wing for his first Super League game of the season on Saturday, playing his part in the 26-18 win over Castleford Tigers.

Barron played four times for Hull at the back end of the last season, scoring three tries. However, he has found opportunities hard to come by this year, playing in the Reserves and being on the fringes of the first-team.

Smith has selected him in the 21-man squad several times, with the winger on guard in case of injuries to either Adam Swift or Darnell McIntosh. That even restricted his chances to play for Newcastle Thunder on dual reg, with his one game up in the north-east even costing him a game in Super League.

"There's been a couple of times where I haven't allowed Harvey Barron to go out on loan because there might have been a niggle on either Darnell or Swifty," Smith told Hull Live. "You don't want to send them away and put them in danger.

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"The one time that I did send Harvey up to Newcastle, he damaged his thumb, and it probably cost him a spot in Super League the week after. I put Davy Litten on the wing instead. That's how fine the line can be sometimes.

"Harvey was really strong in Reserve grade in the derby. He's still got a bit of positional stuff that he's got to get on top of, but I've always said if I had an injury to one of the wingers, then I wouldn't hesitate or worry about putting him in."

That's exactly what Smith did on Saturday, with Barron getting another eighty minutes under his belt, covering for McIntosh, who had a sore heel. The winger will now look to keep impressing in training once the squad returns from a few days off, with eight games of the season still to go. Smith, meanwhile, wasn't getting too far ahead but praised the winger's contribution to the game.

"I was excited about picking him and I enjoyed watching him," Smith added on his performance. "I've had to tell him that he's not in for all these rounds so far, so when you get a chance to tell the kid that he's in and he gets to play, it's one of the highlights of your job. I thought he did well. He was strong, he had some good carries, and he learned loads.

"I kept saying to Pete Riding that we're looking at a bit of our future in Harvey and Davy. I loved watching them, and I've got every bit of faith in them. They're going to be really good players.

"They're developing and they're in the process of learning, but I didn't think either one of them looked out of place. They're two athletes. They've got toughness about them, determination, and a whole lot of ability. It's exciting."