New Wakefield Trinity boss Daryl Powell has explained where they need to strengthen, saying that they must ’embrace the challenge’ of the Championship and detailing how excited he is to get back into coaching.
Powell’s return to the hotseat was confirmed on Monday evening, penning a four-year deal with the newly-relegated West Yorkshire outfit, tasked with helping them return to Super League.
Succeeding Mark Applegarth, the 58-year-old takes up a first role since his own exit from Warrington Wolves earlier this year, that coincidentally coming following a defeat at Belle Vue.
New Wakefield Trinity boss Daryl Powell details recruitment plans
Veteran coach Powell inherits a squad which has already been reduced by nine confirmed departures, the latest of which being promising forward Sam Eseh whose move to Wigan Warriors was confirmed earlier this week.
Elsewhere, David Fifita (retirement), Morgan Smith (Hull FC), Jai Whitbread (Hull KR), Will Dagger (York), Hugo Salabio (Huddersfield), Kevin Proctor (Carcassonne), Jordan Schofield (Keighley) and Jordan Crowther (Warrington) have all already seen their departures sealed.
Additionally, five of the 2023 pack remain off-contract, with their futures unconfirmed – Renouf Atoni, Eddie Battye, Harry Bowes, Lee Kershaw & Dane Windrow.
It’s no surprise then that recruitment is high up on the new boss’ ‘to address’ list. In an interview published on Wakefield’s YouTube channel, he said: “We need some players, I’ve looked through the squad and there’s some good, young players in certain positions.
“The outside-backs, the half-backs and the spine players are nearly all there, but the middle unit is an area that a couple of players have been sold and a couple have left, so that – in the Championship and in rugby league in general – is absolutely paramount.
“I haven’t worked with many of the squad, so I need to build some relationships there. Coaching and getting the best out of players all revolves around relationships, finding out who they are, what they’re about, what their families are about, that’s all important.
“The one player that I have worked with before is Luke Gale, who I signed at Castleford, and he turned into an international player during my time there. I thought he was a perfect signing for Wakefield. You know what he’s like… he’s a big, bubbly character with a great personality and he’s obviously an outstanding player.”
‘Embrace the challenge of the Championship’ – veteran coach delivers message to Trinity pack
Trinity’s new head coach is no stranger to the Championship having played in the second tier and coached in it with both Keighley Cougars & Featherstone Rovers. Born in Wakefield, he’s more than ready for the challenges that the division can bring, and wants his squad to be too.
Powell continued: “You have to embrace the challenge of the Championship. There’s some players in this squad who have never played in it, they’ve been Super League players all their career, and it is tough.
“You may as well set your head right from the start that this is where we’re going to be, this is going to be our standard, but recognise that you have to respect the competition that you’re in and make sure that you’re as good as you can be every week.
“I’ve been a head coach for a long time and it’s a tough job, but it’s a great job. I love the responsibility, and I think that this is an awesome opportunity at a club that’s got a great history to come in and build it and grow it.
“For me, being at the forefront of that is something that I really enjoy. I’m delighted, excited and just really looking forward to what I think is an awesome opportunity.
“After I came away from Warrington, I just went for a bit of a breather. I was sat down with my missus, and I got this text… I thought it was a guy trying to sell me a kitchen! It was Matt introducing himself and saying, ‘look, this is something that I’m looking to do, would you be interested?’
“I thought I’d go and meet him, and just seeing Matt and listening to his passion, I wanted to feed off that.
“What really excited me was the blank canvas, the opportunity to really be a part of growing a club from a difficult position. Matt talks about winning things, and I think that’s important from the top. If you’re talking about winning things from the top, then it permeates down.”