HALF-BACK Jacob Miller has been tipped for a big future in the game – and boss Brian Smith hopes it is at Wakefield Trinity Wildcats.
The former Hull man had a slow start to his Wakefield career, but has been in impressive form since Smith took over as coach last month.
He is set to continue in a play-making role at home to Warrington Wolves tomorrow and Smith said: “He has done a good job in difficult circumstances.
“He has been a real stand-out for us in the period of time I have been here.
“He scored a brilliant try [in the home game] against Hull and his goal kicking has been important for us.
“One feature of his game has been his defence, which has been outstanding.
“He saved two tries against Hull last week and he held Gareth Ellis up over the line, which is a real mis-match in terms of size.
“He has a big future and I am very keen for that to be at Wakefield.”
Tomorrow will be Smith’s fifth game in charge and comes three months after Wildcats were humbled 80-0 by Warrington at HJ Stadium, when James Webster was coach.
Smith watched a dvd of that game last week and he observed: “Warrington are the sort of team that has a real attacking mentality.
“They can put a lot of points on any team when they are in the groove, but I have to say [Wakefield’s] defence that day was not at its best!”
Smith feels Wildcats have “definitely had some improvement” in the games since he took over, but admitted he still doesn’t know how good his team can be.
“It is a team game,” he said. “It is very hard for me to assess what we can do until I see us get the best team we have available playing with some confidence.
“Wakefield has struggled with injuries all season, but I hope we are going to have a good run from here on in and we can get back to making [selection] choices, rather than having to make it fit.”
Scott Anderson, Chris Annakin, Craig Hall, Kevin Locke, Nick Scruton, Tim Smith and Danny Washbrook are all back in contention for Wildcats tomorrow, with Max Jowitt, Tom Johnstone, Jordan Crowther, Ali Lauitiiti and Daniel Smith dropping out from the team beaten by Hull.
Warrington are without the suspended Ashton Sims, but Gary Wheeler is back in contention and Declan Patton and Harvey Livett are both hoping in line for a call-up.
It will be the first time Brian Smith has ever coached against his younger brother Tony, the Warrington and former Leeds boss, but he insisted tomorrow’s game has not been discussed.
“You don’t coach against a coach, you coach against players and with players,” he stressed, though he admitted: “Mum might be bit conflicted this weekend and dad I suppose.”
Wakefield Trinity Wildcats: from Anderson, Annakin, Arundel, Ashurst, Hall, Howarth, Kavanagh, Locke, Lyne, McShane, Miller, Riley, Ryan, Scruton, Sio, T Smith, Tansey, Walker, Washbrook.
Warrington Wolves: from Asotasi, Atkins, Clark, Dwyer, Harrison, Hill, King, Livett, Myler, O’Brien, Ormsby, Patton, Penny, Philbin, Ratchford, Russell, Westwood, Wheeler, Wilde.
Referee: Phil Bentham (Warrington).
Kick-off: Tomorrow, 3pm.