Super League 2019 Preview: More of the same for Wakefield
After two consecutive fifth place finishes in the Super 8s format, a repeat of that in 2019 will land Wakefield a play-off spot.
Their transformation under Chris Chester has been remarkable and is built on a culture that is strong throughout the club and is showing no signs of being broken.
They managed to ward off interest to keep hold of their star men, including Dream Team members Tom Johnstone and Bill Tupou, and their recruitment has been strong.
The return of Danny Brough is an eye-catching capture, and coach Chester hopes that he may well prove the difference for Trinity this year – with them losing out by a couple of points in a few games last season.
Craig Kopczak is an experienced and reliable prop that can play long minutes, something which will become increasingly important with the reduced interchange; while George King also has Super League minutes under his belt.
There haven’t been many departing the exit door, and as such, keeping doing what they have been may well be the mantra for Wakefield, who may also fancy a run in the Challenge Cup this year.
Key man and captain Jacob Miller said: “We’ve done well the last couple of years and with the rule changes, if we can do that again and we get to play in the play-offs, that’s the aim.
“The underdog tag sits well for us, we like to go into games with no pressure on our back. No one expects us to do any good or to win a game, so that probably suits the type of players and the group we’ve got.
“I don’t want to put any unneeded pressure on us but I’m sure every team has set a goal this year to win silverware or play in big games for silverware, and I’d be lying if I said we didn’t do the same.”
Wakefield kick-off the season with a visit to newly-promoted London Broncos on Sunday.
Coach: Chris Chester
Assistant: Stuart Dickens
Captain: Jacob Miller
Key Man: Jacob Miller
One to Watch: Jordan Crowther
Ins: George King (Warrington), Craig Kopczak (Salford), Ben Reynolds (Leigh), Danny Brough (Huddersfield)
Outs: Liam Finn (Newcastle), Scott Grix (Huddersfield), Lee Kershaw (Oldham)
Squad: 1 Ryan Hampshire,2 Tom Johnstone, 3 Bill Tupou, 4 Reece Lyne, 5 Ben Jones-Bishop, 6 Jacob Miller, 7 Danny Brough, 8 David Fifita, 9 Kyle Wood, 10 Anthony England, 11 Matty Ashurst, 12 Danny Kirmond, 13 Tyler Randell, 14 Justin Horo, 15 Craig Kopczak, 16 Tinirau Arona, 17 Craig Huby, 18 Joe Arundel, 19 James Batchelor, 20 Keegan Hirst, 21 Max Jowitt, 22 George King, 23 Chris Annakin, 24 Pauli Pauli, 25 Ben Reynolds, 26 Jordan Crowther, 27 Luke Hooley, 28 Jordan Baldwinson, 29 Lee Kershaw, 30 Lewis Wray, 31 Titus Gwaze, 32 Jack Croft, 33 Yusuf Aydin