IN-FORM Wakefield Trinity Wildcats half-back Jacob Miller has credited his recent performances to coach Brian Smith.
Miller, who scored four tries in the 40-20 home loss to Warrington Wolves two days ago, had a slow start to his Wildcats career, after moving from Hull in the off-season. But the Aussie admitted he feels he is now thriving under Smith’s coaching – and he reckons the experienced boss has had a positive effect on the entire team.
“I am really enjoying [working with] Brian since he has taken over,” Miller said.
“He has stiffened the place up and we are slowly improving.
“Hopefully we can continue to do that and be on our game for the 8s.”
Miller added: “I think his style of coaching suits me and suits everyone in the team.
“You can tell by the team performances. It suits us a bit better and he has been great for us since he arrived.”
Wildcats have won only one of Smith’s five matches in charge, 26-16 at home to Hull on July 1, but they have been competitive in every game and Miller said: “He hasn’t changed a lot, but he has definitely stiffened the players up off the field and he has changed the way we look at the game a bit.”
Miller played his first two games under Smith at full-back, before being switched to scrum-half.
He scored a brace of tries in the defeat at Catalans Dragons in Smith’s second game and crossed once at home to Hull before his four touchdowns last weekend.
Miller said: “I got a bit lucky – I was in the right place at the right time. I would have swapped all those [Sunday’s] tries for a win, but I am pretty happy with the way I am going. The main thing is we are slowly improving. Warrington are a top-four side and are going to be there right to the end.
“We showed in patches we can match them at times. We just need to work out how to do it for the full 80.”
Captain Danny Kirmond is on Wildcats’ long-term injury list, but players including Tim Smith, Pita Godinet, Ali Lauitiiti and Ian Kirke did not feature against Warrington and could play in the Qualifiers.
“That’s one thing he [Smith] has done, he has brought in a few people so everyone’s fighting for their position and no one’s safe,” Miller observed.
“That keeps everyone on their toes and working that little bit harder. You can tell, when training starts at 10, everyone’s out at 9.15-9.30, working together. We are working really hard at the moment, which is good. We are still not where we need to be and there’s still a lot of work to do, but it is small steps.”