Richard Agar has a lot to do in order to turn around Wakefield’s fortunes.
He has radically changed the Wildcats, bringing in fresh faces and eliminating the dead wood that has dragged the Wildcats towards the league’s basement.
However bringing in 18 new faces could have serious consequences for the new side. There may be a few shining individuals, but playing as a unit is different.
Their shining stars include Richie Mathers, the powerful grafter Steve Southern, Andy Raleigh, Paul Aiton and ex-Wigan stand off Tim Smith, in addition to bringing in former Hull KR winger Peter Fox and his former team mate Ben Cockayne. Cockayne comes to Wakefield after drinking in the last chance saloon having had chances to improve his off field behaviour at Hull KR.
However credit must go to Agar and Wakefield for compiling such a team in a short time frame. Only Crusaders’ withdrawal of their Super League license application saved the club from entering the Championships, but now they have a chance to rebuild and push for a new stadium.
Key man: Steve Southern
Steve Southern is a powerful second row forward who played for the losing North Queensland grand finalists in 2005. He joined the Cowboys a year earlier and was considered a powerful forward. After a season ending knee injury he joined Newcastle in 2011, but played only seven first grade games for the Knights spending most of the season in the reserves. Southern will lead the club after being named captain by Agar ahead of the forthcoming season.
One-to-watch: Isacc John
Isaac John is a 23-year old stand off and unknown quantity to Super League. He led the Aukland Vulcans to a NSW Cup final last season, but the Vulcans fell to Canterbuy Bulldogs in Australia’s second tier competition. John has played few first grade games for the New Zealand Warriors, having made his debut against Sydney Roosters in 2009. He made only one appearance against Wests last season, and will hope to earn more appearances for the Wildcats.
Transfers In: Peter Fox (Hull KR) Andy Ellis (Harlequins), Oliver Wilkes (Harlequins), Vince Mellars (Crusaders RL), Ali Lauitiiti (Leeds), Steve Southern (Newcastle), Dean Collis (Cronulla), Danny Washbrook (Hull FC), Kyle Amor (Leeds) Andy Raleigh (Huddersfield), Danny Kirmond (Huddersfield), Ben Cockayne (Featherstone), Kyle Wood (Huddersfield), Isacc John (New Zealand Warriors), Tim Smith (Cronulla), Matt James (Barrow), Richard Mathers (Castleford), Paul Aiton (Cronulla)
Transfers Out: Matt Blaymire (Retired), Luke George (Huddersfield), Julien Rinaldi (London), Chris Dean (Widnes), Ben Gledhill (Salford), Jarraad Hickey (London), Aaron Murphy (Huddersfield), Paul King (York), Tommy Lee (Huddersfield), Glenn Morrison (Retired), Michael Korkidas (Keighley), Smmy Masselot (Villeneuve), Liam Higgins (Sheffield), Jeremy Smith (TBC), Kevin Penny (Swinton), Josh Veivers (Salford), Stuart Howarth (Salford), Kevin Henderson (Montpellier RL), Semi Tadulala (Keighley), Kieran Hyde, Ryan Tongia.
Prediction: This team has a lot of bonding to do before it is even going to get off the bottom rung, 14th.
Super League Grand Final Odds: 100/1 (13th favourites)
League Leaders Odds: 150/1 (13th)
Challenge Cup Odds: 100/1 (13th)
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Squad: Richie Mathers, Peter Fox, Dean Collis, Vince Mellars, Ben Cockayne, Isacc John, Kyle Wood, Oliver Wilkes, Andy Ellis, Andy Raleigh, Ali Lauitiiti, Steve Southern, Danny Washbrook, Paul Aiton, Kyle Amor, Pual Johnson, Danny Kirmond, Motu Tony, Frankie Mariano, Tim Smith, Matthew Wildie, Kyle Trout, Dale Morton, Matt James, James Davey, Danny Cowling, Adam Slater, Russell Spiers, Gareth Moore, Liam Key, Chris Annekin, Lucas Walshaw.