IN-FORM centre Max Stelling has been prominent in attack this season — and is working hard on the defensive aspects of his game.

Stelling has been one of Warriors’ stand-out performers, scoring nine tries in just 14 appearances this term.

The 21-year-old bagged a brace in his last outing against Moseley in Worcester Warriors’ 50-10 victory at Billesley Common in the Greene King IPA Championship.

“Defence is a massive area that I need to work on every day,” said Stelling, who lives in Birmingham.

“It’s something I have to work on and something that I have identified that needs improvement.

“It’s an area that we can work on together as a coaching team and as a playing group.

“It’s great to have someone in Dean Ryan’s position supporting me and giving me opportunities.”

Stelling joined Warriors’ academy in 2012 and burst on to the scene with a club-record six-minute hat-trick on his first-team debut against Bizkaia Gernika in October that year.

Stelling, who looks up to New Zealand centre Conrad Smith, scored three tries in 14 first-team appearances during director of rugby Ryan’s first campaign in charge as Warriors suffered relegation from the Premiership.

“There is a lot more of banter around the squad this season and that comes when the guys are happy and winning and it takes the stress away,” said Stelling.

“For instance, I was just unlucky to get Matt Cox in the club’s Secret Santa and he bought me a hamster as a bit of a joke.

“Ryan Lamb offered to take it away for his daughter. It was just a laugh — it was funny and the laughs and banter have been a lot more evident this season.

“There’s a massive difference at the club from last season — we are in a different league and there are lots of new faces – both in coaching and playing,”

The promising centre says he hasn’t kept a close eye on the Championship table but is pleased with Warriors’ improvement during the season.

“If it was a two-horse race and about points I am sure everybody would be very eager at looking at the results of the likes of Bristol,” he said.

“But, as it stands, as long as we come in the top four we will have a shot at being in the Premiership next season.”

Away from the rugby field, Stelling enjoys spending time with his family.

“My brother and my dad are both lawyers in Birmingham,” he added.

“I applied to university for a sports science course but I have cancelled that now — so my focus is solely on the rugby.