AS HE prepares to return to Wakefield Trinity for his testimonial, Danny Washbrook admits winning the inaugural Million Pound Game to help the club stay in Super League remains one of the highlights of his career so far.
The Hull FC utility shares his benefit match with Trinity’s Danny Kirmond at Belle Vue on Sunday, the duo having played together in the same Wakefield side for four years from 2012-15.
Washbrook’s final game was that nerve-shredding do-or-die contest against Bradford Bulls that hosts Trinity edged 24-16 to keep themselves in the top flight and deny their crushed opponents a return to the elite.
He scored a crucial converted try just after the hour mark to give them a lead their rivals could not peg back and improved Wakefield have since gone from strength to strength in Super League.
“I really enjoyed my time there,” recalled Washbrook, whose 200th appearance came for Trinity against Hull in 2014.
“Making the play-offs in that first year was really good.
“I think everyone had written us off. Garry Schofield turned up and did a naked lap of the pitch as he’d written us off that much. But the Million Pound Game, obviously, was the first one of its kind.
“I played in that to help secure Wakefield’s future in Super League and that was really up there. It was one of the highlights of my career.”
Given Washbrook went on to win two Challenge Cups with Hull at Wembley in 2016 and 2017 and also played in their only Grand Final in 2006, it says plenty about how he remembers his time with Wakefield.
The 33-year-old is looking forward to Sunday’s contest – and coming up against his former colleague Kirmond who has been winding him up during the pre-match promotion.
Second-row Kirmond, 33, reckons Washbrook will struggle this year with the new ‘shot clock’ – introduced at goal kicks, scrums and drop-outs to reduce time-wasting – as he won’t be able to moan as much.
Washbrook replied: “He’’s right. I don’t mind having a bit of a whinge at the ref’ but that’s just down to wanting to win.
“And he’s only saying that as he’s usually on the wrong end of it; when we play them he’s laying on, giving a penalty away or dropping the ball!”
Ex-Leeds Rhinos full-back Richie Mathers, who played alongside both at Trinity from 2012-14, has also weighed in saying he’ll double his contribution to their testimonial fund if they end up scrapping at some point.
But Washbrook insisted: “I can’t see that happening given our records in the game.
“We have both been beat up by the same player, though, the big French guy David Ferriol.
“We’ve both taken a punch from him over the years and neither of us came out best!”
Washbrook is desperate to help get hometown Hull back on track after they lost the last 11 games of last season.
The process starts on Sunday with boss Lee Radford set to give plenty of his first-team players the chance to start remedying what happened then.
“We need to show a lot more consistency than we did at the back end of last year,” admitted Washbrook.
“We’d started building a bit but then got a mountain of injuries that affected team selection but you can’t blame that.
“It changed the team around but if we can just get some consistency team-wise it’ll certainly help our performances in 2019. I’m looking forward to going back to Wakey on Sunday and getting going again.”