FIGHTING BACK: Winger Chris Riley is determined to use his loan spell at Wakefield Wildcats to get his career back on track. Peter Smith reports.
Riley joined Wildcats on a short-term deal a month ago and that has now been extended until the end of the season, though Warrington retain the right to recall him at any time.
After nine years in Wolves’ senior squad, the 26-year-old admitted losing his place was a huge blow, but insisted he is determined to get his game back together and that can only be a good thing for Wildcats.
Riley scored 19 tries in 33 appearances for Warrington last year and has more than a century of touchdowns and over 150 games under his belt for his hometown club since his debut in 2005.
A casualty of Warrington’s poor performance in their season-opening loss to St Helens, he hasn’t played for them since and he conceded: “It hurts, but hopefully I am using that hurt to drive me forward to do well for Wakefield.
“I am not even thinking about going back to Warrington at the moment. I want to start playing well for Wakefield and proving my ability. It starts at Wakefield and at the moment we are going through a transition and I’m enjoying going through that.”
Wildcats are on a four-game losing run, including last Friday’s 42-6 defeat at Leeds Rhinos. Riley added: “When I first came in we had two great results, putting 50 points on Catalan and London. I thought I was back at Warrington again.
“It has been tough since and brought us back down to earth again, but I am looking to improve and so’s Wakefield. I am looking forward to us doing that over the next few weeks.”
A taste of life in the Kingstone Press Championship made Riley even more determined to underline his top-flight credentials. He said: “I want to be playing Super League every week. Before I came here I played for (Warrington’s dual-registration partner club) Swinton.
“We went to Workington and it was like a mudbath. A lot of lads were saying ‘welcome to the real world’.
“It certainly was, it was a tough game, but hopefully I am good enough to be playing Super League every week and when the opportunity came up to come to Wakefield it was an easy decision to make.
“I only got short notice, I was asked on a Friday and told I only had an hour and a half to make a decision. I was struggling to get into the Warrington side and I don’t think my form has been too great over the last few months so I am looking to improve on that.
“I have come to a squad that’s just getting together. A few lads came in just before the season started, Jarrod Sammut only came in three weeks before me and Nick Scruton and Harry Siejka came the week I did.
“It’s a squad I do believe is a good one and one that’s gelling.
“I am really enjoying it. I went back to Warrington for Challenge Cup week, but the fact Wakefield wanted me back was a nice feeling.
“I feel like I owe Wakefield to do a job for them and hopefully we can get a couple of results over the next couple of weeks.
“It is a fantastic club, Richard Agar is a great coach and he needs to be given time to make the squad click together. Hopefully he will do that.
“It is tough at the moment, but we have just got to stick together and we will click soon and hopefully come good in the next few weeks.”
Meanwhile, Bradford Bulls today announced their right of appeal against the club’s points deduction has been granted by the sport’s governing body.
The notice of intention to appeal was lodged with the Rugby Football League by former administrator David Wilson, however the appeal could not proceed until the ownership of the club was resolved.
Following consultation with legal representatives, the new board have confirmed their intention to proceed with the appeal process and are now awaiting a hearing date.
Bulls, who play host to Leeds Rhinos on Friday, are bottom of First Utility Super League after having six points deducted for entering administration.
If that decision was overturned then Bradford would move level in the table with fellow strugglers Wakefield on four points.