FORMER LEEDS Rhinos hooker Paul McShane is feeling good about his move to Wakefield Trinity Wildcats.
Leeds-born McShane came through Rhinos’ academy system and spent five seasons in the first team squad before joining Wildcats last November.
The 24-year-old admitted it was a wrench to leave his hometown club, but after a month at Wakefield is confident the change will be positive for him.
“Everyone at the club has made it easy,” McShane said. “They have all been welcoming and they’ve shown a bit of faith in me as well. It is good, I am enjoying going training and it is something new for me.
“I was at Leeds for a long time and now I’ve moved on to something new.”
Coach Richard Agar has already pin-pointed McShane as a key man for Wildcats this season and indicated he will be a regular in the starting line-up.
McShane – who made his first appearance in 2009 – never managed to nail down a consistent place in Leeds’ side, being restricted to 17 starts and 46 games off the substitutes’ bench.
He admitted more game time and playing from the start is his aim in 2014.
“If my form permits that, hopefully I will play as much as I can and do a good job for the team,” he said. “If I am playing well, that will come off the back of it. I just want to play with a bit of confidence and play well.
“It is a matter of getting used to different systems and different ways of doing things, but the more I play the more confident I will get.”
Leaving Leeds – where he was still under contract – was a gamble, particularly to join a club who have suffered recent financial problems and are being tipped to struggle this year.
But McShane is impressed with the squad Agar has put together and feels Wildcats will be a surprise package in 2014.
“Everyone is writing us off,” he admitted. “But we know as a team what we can achieve.
“They have shown in seasons before that they are a fighting side and they don’t let anything go easily.
“I think they’ve signed well and they’ve got some good imports from abroad, so we should go well.
“The club are positive in everything they do and that’s how you’ve got to be – you’ve got to be positive and look forward.
“I think everybody at Wakefield is enjoying it and they are all looking forward to the new season.”
Wildcats’ next trial match is away to Featherstone Rovers on Sunday, January 12.
McShane reckons Wildcats will be looking to build on an encouraging performance in the Boxing Day draw at his old club.
He said: “Neither side was at full-strength, but you go to Leeds and it’s always going to be a tough game.
“They have got some great talent coming through, but some of the Wakefield young kids stood up as well so it was good all round.
“For me, I was glad to get it done with. For Leeds to be my first game, it gets the excitement and pressure out of the way.
“I enjoyed it. It was a bit tiring, but it was good.”
Wildcats’ final pre-season game is Andy Raleigh’s testimonial at home to Huddersfield Giants on Sunday, January 26.
Meanwhile, former Wakefield player Vince Mellars, who left the club at the end of last season, will not be returning to Featherstone Rovers.
Mellars had a spell on loan at Featherstone in 2013, but has now returned to his native New Zealand and is expected to play part-time in the Auckland competition.