IT HAS been a tough couple of months, but Wakefield Trinity Wildcats can look back on this season as a success, forward Mikey Sio says.
Wakefield have won five more games in all competitions than they did last year, when they finished 11 points adrift at the end of the weekly rounds and only secured their Super League status through a victory in the million pound match.
Relegation was avoided this time with eight games in hand and, despite losing all six games so far in the First Utility Super-8s, Sio reckons it has been a season of real progress.
“Considering what happened last year, I think we have come a long way as a club,” said the Auckland-born hooker or back-rower.
“We have had a bit of a rollercoaster ride, but I think we’ve finished the season strong and it is something the club should be proud of and also the boys.
“It is a lot different to last year, it is good not to think about the million pound game or the middle-eights.
“We will be sitting back this year and watching that game with a smile on our face, knowing we did a good enough job to stay in the [top-] eight.”
Sio reckons the foundations are in place for Wakefield – who complete their campaign away to St Helens on Friday – to improve again in 2017.
He added: “There’s a lot of boys putting in good efforts.
“Some new signings will be coming in and they will boost the team.
“We want to have a big pre-season.
“Clogger [conditioner Martin Clawson] is going to put us through some extreme conditioning so I am looking forward to that!”
The middle-eights have been tough for Wakefield, who have been without a host of key players due to injury, but after a series of heavy defeat they have lost their last two by a combined total of eight points.
A controversially disallowed try cost them at least a draw against Challenge Cup winners Hull last Thursday and Sio said: “The boys have a lot of energy and we showed if we complete high we can stay in the game.
“Playing a top side like Hull will give us a lot of confidence going into this week. We want to finish the Super-8s off with a win.
“We should give Saints a good game. We had a fair amount of ball against Hull, we just need to execute a bit better.
“That has let us down over the last two weeks. If we get that right things should go our way.”
Meanwhile, the RFL has announced an agreement with leading bookmakers Ladbrokes that will see them become the official title sponsor of this year’s Four Nations tournament.
Ladbrokes are title sponsor of the Challenge Cup and a First Utility Super League partner.
The Four Nations kicks off on Friday, October 28 at Hull’s Lightstream Stadium when Australia face Scotland. England begin their campaign the following day against New Zealand at Huddersfield. Games will also be played in Workington, Coventry and London with the final taking place at Anfield, Liverpool, on Sunday, November 20.