Off to the city of Wakefield for the next fan preview and @wakeywhite helps us out again. Last season they predicted that Saints would be Champions, so of course we had to get them back and find out how they thought the Dreadnoughts would fare this year.
Our thanks to @wakeywhite for their time…
First of all tell us a little about yourself…
I’ve been watching Wakefield and had a season ticket for 21 years. I manage to go to most away games too. I’ve got so many great memories from over the years, I just hope we manage to get to win something or at least get to a major final before I die!
Sum up last season as a Wakefield fan.
It was a pretty disappointing year for us last year after reaching the playoffs in 2018. We had some terrible luck with injuries that kept our key players out for long periods and we could never get back into the groove after a really positive start. I think last year I said that I was glad the Million Pound game was gone because it was too stressful – but we ended up having to win on the last day to ensure survival anyway! Every Wakey fan will just want to put last year behind us and hope we can crack on in 2020.
We welcome Toronto into Super League for the first time, meaning we now have 2 teams from outside of the UK taking part in Super League.
So in three parts: a) What are your thoughts on Toronto’s promotion, b) would you welcome more expansion teams from across Europe and/or North America and c) what would your ideal ‘domestic’ Rugby League competition look like in 20-30 years (e.g. Toronto to still be part of the Super League structure with other expansion teams, all expansion teams to be in their own strong domestic leagues, UK only super League etc.)
a) I’m a bit torn on Toronto to be honest. On one hand it’s completely bizarre to have a team from another continent, 3500 miles away playing in Super League. On the other hand, it opens up new opportunities for attracting sponsors, TV deals, new fans and players to the greatest game. I wish them best of luck going forward.
b) I’m all for expanding the game and spreading the rugby league gospel far and wide but it needs to be done properly and sustainably. I think Catalan for example are a great addition to Super League and have brought a lot to the competition but I’d rather the RFL focused on dealing with some more pressing issues in the sport, rather than getting carried away with bringing in new, exotic clubs.
c) I think the dream would be to have strong domestic leagues all around the world with the top clubs playing each other in a “Champions League” type format, but I’d be happy enough with a thriving 14 team Super League with an average attendance north of 10,000.
How do you think Trinity will go in 2020?
It’s quite hard to predict after last years’ injury hit season but I think we’ll go ok – probably finishing around 7th to 9th and reach the quarter finals of the cup. I’d say we’d had a good season if we can still be pushing for playoffs with a couple of games to go and make at least the semis in the Challenge Cup.
Are you happy with your recruitment this year – is there anywhere you feel you need to improve?
Yeah I think we’ve done some shrewd business this year – I’m particularly looking forward to seeing what full back Alex Walker can do after his great year at London. Jay Pitts, Joe Westerman and Chris Green are all direct upgrades on what we had in the pack last year too.
There’s always areas we could improve but for the budget we’ve got I think we’ve done really well – though it will be confusing having 2 different Woods (Josh and Kyle) spelling at hooker!
Golden point was used in Super League last year – what are your thoughts on the system?
I’m really not a fan of it, sometimes a draw is a fair result after 80 minutes of brutal rugby and forcing a result through with a gimmick just doesn’t sit right with me.
Which one of your clubs players is the one to watch out for this season?
It’s gotta be David Fifita, he’s a real talisman for the team and on his day is practically unplayable. He’s right up there with Thompson and Walmsley for best props in the league for me and I think he’ll go well again this year.
Which of your young players is most likely to make a name for themselves this season?
We’ve got a few coming through but I think the sad situation with Ben Jones Bishop’s illness will give an opportunity to Lee Kershaw to stake his claim for that wing spot. He played a few games last year and went well so expecting him to improve this year.
Top 5: Saints, Wire, Wigan, Castleford, Hull FC; Grand Final: Saints vs Wigan; Champions: Saints; Challenge Cup: Wire; Relegated: Toronto
Who will be Man of Steel? Do you agree with the way the votes are given out?
James Maloney at Catalan. Yes – I really like the new format for man of steel, sometimes feels like smaller clubs got left out but was quite good to see Fifita and Brough flying high in the table until our season fell apart in May! No one could argue it didn’t produce the right winner last year either!