Coach Smith looking to instil a teamwork ethic in the Wildcats side

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TEAMWORK IS the key ingredient coach Brian Smith is looking for in Wakefield Trinity Wildcats’ first pre-season hit-out.

Smith has named a strong squad for the Wetherby Whaler Festive Challenge at treble-winners Leeds Rhinos on Boxing Day.

The game will be an opportunity for Smith to measure his side’s progress against good opposition and he said: “It is a chance to gauge where we are in our physical conditioning and also to start new combinations and develop a real strong team camaraderie as well. We’ve got 30-odd guys training and no major injury concerns, other than Richie Owen who is still coming back from his broken leg.

“From what I’ve been told, we have really upped the ante (from last pre-season) in terms of workload and the guys have really put in.

“I’m feeling confident about their level of preparation, now we’ve got to start to build the all-important team work.”

Wildcats finished the 2015 regular season 11 points adrift at the bottom of First Utility Super League and only avoided dropping into the Kingstone Press Championship with a win over Bradford Bulls in the Million Pound Match.

“The competition will be tougher,” Smith predicted of the new season. “I think we will be tougher as well, it is just how much improvement we can make.”

Wildcats are using neighbouring Featherstone Rovers’ indoor training facilities and Smith said: “We’ve done a lot of skills work, as well as strength and speed conditioning. They (Featherstone) have got a big indoor area and we have got a lot of work done in there.”