SUPER sub Kyle Wood believes a move to Wakefield Trinity Wildcats has established his Super League credentials.
Wood will aim to maintain his ever-present record this season when Wildcats visit his hometown club Castleford Tigers on Sunday.
At just 23, Wood is already playing for his third Super League outfit. He made one start and four substitute appearances during a loan spell at Castleford in 2010 and started one match – with five as a substitute – for Huddersfield Giants last season.
All but one of his appearances this year have come off the bench, but he feels playing every week has taken his game to a new level.
“That’s what I came to Wakefield for,” said Wood, who has also had spells in the lower divisions with Batley Bulldogs, Doncaster and Sheffield Eagles.
“Rich [coach Richard Agar] told me I’d be getting more game time and that makes you more confident.
“I have really enjoyed this year. It is probably the most enjoyable season I’ve had and that comes with playing.
“The last couple of seasons I’ve been on the verge and I’ve only played a few games. It gets you frustrated when you are in and out of the team.
“This year I have been playing every week and I’ve really enjoyed that. I think I’ve got more confident.
“I am not really worried about playing any more. You get a bit nervous when you are in and out of the team, but I think now I’ve really settled into the Super League environment.
“My confidence has built and I’ve kicked on and progressed throughout the year. I think I am up to Super League standard now and I feel comfortable.”
Working with Aussie half-back Tim Smith has helped develop his game, Wood believes.
“There’s a really good team spirit here and all the lads get on,” he stated. “It is a great set of lads.
“Tim Smith has come in, he is a scrum-half and I am a scrum-half/hooker, so I have been learning a lot off him.
“He is a good bloke, he gets me to one side and he will happily help me with stuff. There’s a lot of players who are happy to help each other and that’s a good thing.”
His one start this year came at scrum-half, but Wood has mainly been used as an impact hooker off the bench.
He said: “I see myself more as a scrum-half, but I am really enjoying the hooker role.
“I think the more I play it, the more I feel like I am progressing. I am coming across to liking the position.
“I’m not sure if I’m a scrum-half or hooker, but as long as I am playing I am not bothered.
“The roles are a bit similar, but at hooker you’re more in the middle and you’re more into contact The more I’m playing the more I am getting used to that contact and being in the middle.”
Wood will go up against a former club for the second time in two weeks on Sunday.
He said: “It’s a derby and it’ll be a massive game. We have got a bit of form behind us and they lost last week, so I think they’ll come out firing and, they’ll make it into a big game and they’ll really be eyeing a win up.
“We’ve just got to keep the same form and put as much effort in as we have been doing and I think we will do well.”
Facing Tigers is a different challenge for Wildcats, who have beaten top-eight sides Huddersfield and Leeds Rhinos in their last two games.
“Rich has said that to us,” Wood confirmed.
“He’s said they are out of the top eight and below us on the table, so we’ve got to aim up this weekend and keep that same effort and enthusiasm.
“I don’t think I have anything to prove, it is just like any other game for me.
“I am a local Cas lad and I have got a lot of friends who support Cas, so they will be getting into me about the game.
“That makes it a bit more special. My friends will be rooting for Cas, bit I think they’ll also be hoping I do well in the game.
“It’s good afterwards to talk to my mates and if we win I’ll be able to have a bit of banter with them, so that’s one of the plus points.”
Wakefield forward Oliver Wilkes will miss Sunday’s derby after losing his appeal against a one-match ban for reckless striking during Monday night’s victory over Leeds Rhinos.