WAKEFIELD TRINITY Wildcats coach Richard Agar is confident he has put together a “useful and competitive” squad from the ashes of last season.
Wildcats today revealed their squad numbers for 2014, with five new faces included in the top-20 and space left for two more.
Agar will field a much-altered side when the Super League season kicks off in two months’ time, following a massive cut in his playing budget and the departure of at least 10 senior players.
But Wildcats qualified for the top-eight in 2012 after similar upheaval and Agar is tipping his new-look squad to provide more shocks next year.
Samoa World Cup half-back/hooker Pita Godinet (awarded squad number seven) and Australian forwards Scott Anderson (No 8) and Matty Ryan (No 15) are due to arrive at the club early in the new year.
Fellow recruits Paul McShane (No 9), Richard Moore (No 16) and Daniel Smith (No 23) will all play against Leeds Rhinos in the Boxing Day Heatshot Festive Challenge at Headingley Carnegie.
Wildcats are hoping to sign Rhinos centre Jimmy Keinhorst on a season-long loan and are monitoring former NRL half-back Harry Siejka.
After the chaos of the first few weeks of the off-season, when a host of high-profile players left the club, Agar reckons the prospects for next year are looking much brighter.
“Things are going okay,” he said.
“We have had a lot of upheaval and we’ve spent a short period of time working on recruitment.
“But we’ve got it together pretty quickly and I’m reasonably happy with the stage we are at.
“I think, within the budget we’ve got, we’ve put together a pretty useful and competitive team.
“The challenge we are facing is we are going to have a pretty limited pre-season with some young players in key positions, but I am confident the old guard will get in there and help them along.
“The new guys will bring a new energy to us. We know there will be a settling-in period, but I am quite excited about the prospects and potential of the team.”
Academy back-row Jordan Crowther (No 24) and full-back Max Jowitt (No 25) have both been included in Wildcats’ full-time squad.
Jowitt was last week named in the England under-19s squad for next year’s Test series against the touring Australian Schoolboys.
Bobbie Goulding – who will play against Leeds on Thursday – has not been awarded a squad number, but is training with the club and Wildcats say contracts are in progress with regard to a new deal.
Wildcats’ squad numbers for 2014:1 Richard Mathers, 2 Peter Fox, 3 Dean Collis, 4 Lee Smith, 5 Reece Lyne (last year Ben Cockayne), 6 Paul Sykes, 7 Pita Godinet (Tim Smith), 8 Scott Anderson (Justin Poore), 9 Paul McShane (Paul Aiton), 10 Andy Raleigh, 11 Ali Lauitiiti, 12 Danny Kirmond, 13 Danny Washbrook, 14 Matty Wildie (Kyle Wood), 15 Matt Ryan (Kyle Amor), 16 Richard Moore (Oliver Wilkes), 17, Taulima Tautai (Frankie Mariano), 18 Kyle Trout, 19 Not allocated, 20 Not allocated, 21 Chris Annakin (Matty Wildie), 22 Lucas Walshaw (Danny Cowling), 23 Dan Smith (Brad Singleton), 24 Jordan Crowther (Lucas Walshaw), 25 Max Jowitt (Isaac John), 26 Jon Molloy (Bobbie Goulding), 27 Ben Shulver (Chris Annakin).