Wakefield Wildcats: Safety-first Wildcats’ eye is already on next season

James Webster
James Webster
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young players could be given a chance now Wakefield Trinity Wildcats are safe from relegation.

Wildcats – pre-season favourites for the drop, alongside London Broncos – have guaranteed their First Utility Super League status with almost a quarter of the season still to play.

Wakefield’s victory over Widnes Vikings last week, coupled with Bradford Bulls’ loss at St Helens, left them 15 points clear of the drop zone, with only seven games remaining.

Wildcats have gone five games unbeaten – winning four of them – since James Webster took over as coach and he described staying in the top-flight as a massive achievement.

“The chairman told us at the start, before anyone had turned up for pre-season, that avoiding relegation was the only goal,” said Webster, who was assistant to previous boss Richard Agar.

“Somewhere between eight and 10 players were released or sold because of money issues and we had all sorts of problems in pre-season: we had to cancel our camp because we didn’t have enough people to fulfil it, people didn’t turn up until the first game or after that and we had to use loan players.

“To stay up is a big achievement and to do it so early, the club has to be commended.”

Webster, whose team are now just two points outside the top-eight play-offs zone, said his approach won’t change for the rest of the campaign, though he will be able to start planning for next year.

“I might be able to give some of our young kids a bit more game time,” he confirmed.

“Once you are safe you have got to start looking ahead pretty quickly and there’s a couple of young kids I’d like to see in first grade, if the right moment presents itself.

“There’s more chance to do that when you’re safe than if you are playing crucial games every week.”

RFL director of rugby, Kevin Sinfield. PIC: Bruce Rollinson

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