Skipper tips Wakefield Trinity to thrive during Rocky spell

Wakefield Trinity captain Jacob Miller says he has full trust in makeshift half-back partner Ryan Hampshire.

Thursday, 6th February 2020, 2:10 pm
Updated Thursday, 6th February 2020, 2:10 pm
Jacob Miller gets a kick away against Hull KR. Picture Mike Egerton PA

Trinity will go into Sunday’s visit of Catalans Dragons without number seven Danny Brough who suffered damage to a knee in last Friday’s 30-12 Betfred Super League round one defeat at Hull KR.

Though the injury is not believed to be season-ending, Trinity are having to adjust to a new combination in the pivots just two weeks into the season.

Hampshire - known as Rocky - is set to switch from full-back to partner Miller in the halves and has played there in the past.

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Jacob Miller and Wakefield Trinity found the going tough in Super League round one. Picture by Mike Egerton PA.

Miller described Brough’s absence as a “big loss”, but insisted Hampshire can fill the gap.

He admitted: “Obviously losing someone with that much experience is always going to hurt you, but at the same time it is an opportunity for Rocky to step up and show us what he has got.

“He has been training really well all week and I am looking forward to going out there with him on Sunday.”

Miller’s opposite number at stand-off this week is James Maloney, Dragons’ new signing from Penrith Panthers who played State of Origin for New South Wales last year and is a former Australia Test player.

“It will be nice to go up against a player like that, somebody in the same position as you, who has played rep’ footy at the highest level,” Miller said.

“It’ll be a nice challenge for myself to come up against him and I look forward to that challenge on Sunday.”

It is still very early days, but one of this weekend’s sides will be left without any points going into round three and Miller made no attempt to play down the importance of Trinity’s home opener.

“I think every game is going to be big this year, with how tight the competition is going to be,” he predicted.

“The top teams have recruited really well, likewise the ones that didn’t have a very good year last year.

“Every game is going to be very big, but we don’t want to be none from two. We have had a good week this week and put to bed what was a disappointing result from last week.”

The battle for two competition points is likely to be overshadowed if Catalans include new signing Israel Folau when their 21-man squad is named at noon on Friday.

Catalans unleashed a storm of controversy by signing the dual-code international winger whose past homophobic comments have been condemned across the sport.

Keegan Hirst, this country’s only openly gay professional rugby league player, spent two seasons at Trinity before moving to Halifax.

Miller said he is “not surprised” by the row over Folau’s move to Super League, but added: “With us having Keegan Hirst last year it is something we are pretty supportive of as a club, but other than that we have pretty big things to worry about this week.

“We are coming off a pretty disappointing loss, we have to get over that loss and really look to put a few wrongs right this weekend.”

Of the damage Folau could do on the field, he warned: “He will be a massive threat.

“He is a massive kick target and a big unit out there on the edges, so hopefully he’ll have another week off.”