LONDON-BORN SPEEDSTER Mason Caton-Brown says perceptions of Wakefield Trinity are changing.
He reckons, after battling against relegation for many of their 18 seasons in Super League and enduring a series of financial crises, Trinity are now recognised as being a club on the up.
Wakefield’s rapid improvement under coach Chris Chester has been noted elsewhere in the game and Caton-Brown believes that has made it easier for Trinity to bring in quality recruits, boosting their prospects of more success this year.
One of seven new faces added to Wakefield’s squad since the end of last season, the 23-year-old former London Broncos and Salford Red Devils winger revealed he opted for a move to Belle Vue after positive references from ex-team-mates.
“It has been good so far; the boys have welcomed me nicely,” Caton-Brown said of the switch.
“I watched Wakefield throughout last year and I’ve got some friends here as well.
“They told me it’s a good atmosphere to be in.
“They did well last year and they’re building on it this year with who they’ve recruited.
“The ethos around the club is really changing.”
Caton-Brown played at Salford alongside Ben Jones-Bishop, who joined Wakefield a year ago and could be a rival for one of the wing spots this season.
“He told me it’s a good place to be,” Caton-Brown added.
“I also spoke to [another ex-Salford man] Jay Walton.
“He has left now, but he also spoke highly of the club.”
Wakefield were the surprise package in Super League last term, climbing from bottom of the table at Easter to eighth spot after 23 rounds.
That secured a place in the Super-8s and though they lost all seven games over the final third of the campaign, Caton-Brown is confident they can improve further this term.
Avoiding the drop has been Trinity’s priority in the past, but Caton-Brown said they have higher ambitions this year.
And he insisted: “We definitely want to finish in the top eight and then do well against the better teams in the league and hold our own against the top-four teams. I hope I can add to the team.
“There’s a lot of competition for spots and I think we will do well.”
Caton-Brown had a delayed start to his Trinity career, missing the Boxing Day victory at Leeds Rhinos due to an ankle problem.
He shook that off to feature in the wins over Dewsbury Rams and Castleford Tigers and is due to play in Sunday’s derby at Featherstone Rovers, who also have a 100 per cent record after three pre-season matches.
“It has been good to get back into it,” Caton-Brown said.
“With a different team you train differently and it’s good to challenge myself with different things and adapt, so it has been good so far.”
Trinity have also strengthened off the field, with vastly-experienced former coach John Kear returning to the club as head of rugby to work alongside team boss Chris Chester.
“John and Chris have been good in pre-season,” Caton-Brown said.
“They’ve done a lot of work specific to each position, backs and forwards and we’re looking forward to putting it all into action, as I am sure they are as well.”
Wakefield, meanwhile, have confirmed that Anthony England has signed a new two-year extension to his existing contract.
England joined Trinity from Warrington at the start of last season.
He is now contracted until at least the end of the 2019 season with an option – for both parties – to extend by a year.
“It’s good to be part of a club that’s moving forward,” said England.
“I’ve loved it here from day one, even when Brian (Smith was here. It’s just a great group of lads and everyone has been really good to me.”