Luke Gale set for Wakefield debut as key man returns for Trinity

Drew Darbyshire
Luke Gale Wakefield Trinity News Images

Photo: James Heaton/News Images

Wakefield coach Mark Applegarth has hinted that Luke Gale will make his debut for the club in tonight’s clash with Catalans.

Earlier this month, the former Man of Steel linked up with Wakefield on a deal until the end of 2024 from Championship side Keighley.

Gale has yet to feature for Applegarth’s side, but could pull on the Trinity jersey for the first time tonight in their trip to Perpignan.

When asked about Gale potentially making his debut this week, Applegarth replied: “Hopefully.

“He’s in the squad, he’s trained. We’re just making sure that he’s a-okay.

“All being well, he’s trained and he’s got through training today but we’ll do some final checks and as long as he passes all them, Luke Gale will be fit and available.

“He has been a massive help in just giving us a bit of direction and freeing up some other players.

“We’ve trained all week with Max (Jowitt), Mason (Lino) and Galey and it has looked really sharp.

“I feel a bit for Morgan Smith, I had to have a pretty honest chat with him but if Luke – for whatever reason, we have to give him a bit longer – I have full faith with how Morgan has been looking that he’ll carry on taking his opportunity.”

Smith and Gale are vying for the same spot alongside goal-kicker Lino, but Applegarth says it’ll be good for Smith’s development to be able to learn from someone like Gale, a former Man of Steel and England international.

Applegarth said: “There’s two players at the opposite end of the spectrum.

“We’ve got Luke who is coming towards the end of his career and that transition and you’ve Morgan who is coming in to his prime years, so it is a win-win for Morgan.

“He might not see it like that at the moment when I tell him certain weeks that Luke’s playing but he’s picking in to him every single day and taking little nuggets of information and that can only be good for Morgan Smith in the long run with his development as well.”

Luke Gale to debut as Wakefield boosted by return of Max Jowitt

Fresh from signing a new two-year last week, Jowitt will return from the treatment room for Friday’s game against Catalans.

Applegarth said: “Max Jowitt is, for me, one of the best attacking full-backs in the league.

“I think his pass selection, as I’ve said many times, is great out the back. He’s got pace to burn so he’s a running threat as well and we’ve been working hard on the defensive side of his game, which he wasn’t bad at, but needed to work on.

“I think at the age he is coming in to now – he’s just turned 26 – he’s got his best years of rugby ahead of him. I’m just hoping he gets a bit of luck on the injury front and that he gets a consistent season or two where he can take that next step to the next level of his game and he can start hopefully putting his name forward for some representative honours and things like that.

“Max is an excellent player, it feels like he’s been around for an eternity, you forget he’s only 26 because he made his debut young.

“I’m really glad we’ve got him secured for the next two years and I think he’ll be a massive player for this club moving forward.”

Catalans welcome Wakefield to the Stade Gilbert Brutus on Friday night, 6pm kick-off.

Catalans: Mourgue, Laguerre, Yaha, May, McMeeken, McIlorum, Bousquet, Whitley, Seguier, Garcia, Goudemand, Navarrete, Rouge, Chan, Romano, Ikuvalu, Taukeiaho, Dezaria, Johnstone, Tison, Zenon.

Wakefield: Jowitt, Taufua, Lino, Battye, Hood, Ashurst, Tanginoa, Pitts, Crowther, Kay, Bowden, Kershaw, Proctor, Smith, Butler, Bowes, Eseh, Pratt, Dagger, Gale, Croft.

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