every session counts for Wakefield Trinity Wildcats as the clock ticks down to their First Utility Super League opener next month.
Wildcats recorded their first pre-season win with a 34-20 success over Kingstone Press Championship neighbours Featherstone Rovers last Sunday and are spending part of this week on a camp in north Wales.
Coach James Webster’s side have scored 62 points in their two trial games so far – including the Boxing Day trip to Leeds Rhinos – but conceded 70 and centre Reece Lyne admits they need to improve before the real business begins.
“It was a bit scratchy,” Lyne, who did not play on Boxing Day, admitted of the win over Rovers. “But we need to keep hold of the ball more. We were a bit ill-disciplined with it and we had to do a bit more defending than we’d have liked. We have got a fair bit to improve before the first game.
“Our attack has looked good, but our D (defence) has been scratchy.
“We have looked a bit clumsy, so we’ll have some work to do on that. We’ll be on the wrestle mats and looking to tighten that up a bit.”
Wildcats finished 12th out of 14 in Super League last year, with the two teams below them – Bradford Bulls and London Broncos – being relegated.
A similar performance in the 12-team competition this season would see them involved in the new structure’s “middle-eights”, battling it out with the other three lowest Super League clubs and the Championship’s top-four for a place in the elite division in 2016.
Rovers are expected to be one of the Championship clubs pushing for promotion and Lyne said Wildcats’ performance against them indicates they are on the right track.
“They are one of the top clubs in the Championship, so we knew it was gong to be a tough game,” he reflected. “It is all about stepping stones.
“We took a step forward from Boxing Day and we play Hull next and we’ll take a step forward then as well.
“We’ve got 15 training sessions (after the Rovers match) before the first game and we will be looking to put some hard work in. We are under no illusions, we know it is going to be a tough season and there’s a lot of work to put in. But we have got a good group here and the boys are willing to work hard on the training field and put some good sessions in.”
According to Lyne, Wildcats have “a lot more strength in depth” than last year. He said: “It has been talked about that we’ve strengthened the middle up a bit, so that’s good. We are a team unit and whether you are number one, two or 28 you are all going to play before the end of the season, so everyone has got to train hard together, but we are ahead of where we were this time last year.
“The boys who have come in have added a lot and we seem to have a bit of punch in the middle now, but there’s still a lot to work on and we have got to focus on fixing our D up.”
Wildcats’ first competitive game is away to Castleford Tigers on Sunday, February 8. Lyne said: “It is only a month away and it will be a packed house, so there’s no better way to start. We will be training hard and hopefully we can go there and kick off with a win. People are writing us off and saying we’re favourites to finish bottom, but we all believe in our own ability and we have a pretty talented squad here.
“We’ll just look after ourselves, keep training hard and hopefully the results will take care of themselves.”