STAR MAN Bill Tupou has put his Betfred Super League Dream Team selection down to being professional off the field.
The centre, who joined Trinity in 2015, is one of three Wakefield players selected for the form side which is decided by votes from members of the media. Club-mates Tom Johnstone and Matty Ashurst were also included, but there were no other representatives from Yorkshire teams.
Tupou was tipped heavily to be included after an outstanding year when he was Super League’s top metre maker.
“I was shocked, but happy at the same time,” he said after the Dream Team was unveiled at Manchester United’s Old Trafford stadium. “I think I’ve pretty much set a goal of just trying not to get injured. That’s by doing the little things off the field as well. Most of the years I was at Wakefield I was injured so I missed games and if you’re not on the field people don’t see you. I think it just came down to being professional off the field and looking after the little niggles after every game.
“That was one big achievement I was happy with, I played every game. That was a big target of mine, I’ve done that and now I’ve just got to look after my body. I’ve been knocked around a few times so that’s taken its toll, but I want to come back and do the same thing.”
Tupou was “stoked” his winger Johnstone and second-rower Ashurst were also honoured. He said: “I think our whole team has played well this year.
“To get these two in as well is good. We have been together all season, we talk to each other and we make sure we are on the same page on the field. I am just happy they are there as well.”
Trinity’s consistent left-edge was the heart of an encouraging year which ended with them finishing fifth in Super League for the second successive season.
“That was one of the things we looked at, just to stay consistent,” Tupou added. “I didn’t know about the stats, but I was told I was leading and then I was like ‘give me the ball!’. That all comes down to us as a team, everyone doing their job. That helps us do what we do.”
Trinity’s next target is a top-four finish, according to Tupou.
“We could have made it the last two years,” he said. “It comes down to consistency. We’ve been that close, all those tight games we could and should have won, we need to turn that over.
“That’s by playing the full 80, not in patches. I think we need to work on that because we’ve shown we can beat the top teams. I think we’ve got the team to do it, we just need to go back to training and work on doing all the basics right because against all the top teams if you make a mistake they can capitalise. I think that’s a big thing we’ve learned from the last couple of years.”
Johnstone, meanwhile, was today expected to be named in the England squad for this autumn’s Tests against France and New Zealand.
The 2018 Betfred Super League Dream Team is: Ben Barba, Tommy Makinson (both St Helens), Bill Tupou (Wakefield Trinity), Mark Percival (St Helens), Tom Johnstone (Wakefield), Jonny Lomax, Danny Richardson, Luke Thompson, James Roby (all St Helens), Remi Casty (Catalans Dragons), John Bateman, (Wigan Warriors), Matty Ashurst (Wakefield Trinity), Sean O’Loughlin (Wigan Warriors).