WAKEFIELD Wildcats hooker Tommy Lee insists he has nothing to prove when he returns to former club Hull FC tonight, despite admitting he wasn’t everyone’s cup of tea at the KC Stadium.
The 23-year-old started his Super League career with the Black and Whites in 2005 and was a regular pick for the next four seasons before moving on to Crusaders.
He returns to East Yorkshire for the second time since his move away tonight - his first being with Crusaders last season in an 18-16 defeat - but his focus is firmly on helping Wakefield to a crucial two points.
“I don’t think I’ve got anything to prove,” he revealed.
“I played there (at Hull) a long time and they know what I’m all about. A few people don’t really rate me as a player over there but I just want to have a good game for Wakefield and get a win.”
He continued: “It’s going to be a really tough game. I think their forwards have got ex-internationals all over the shop, and there are whispers that Sean Long could be back so that will be a big boost for them.
“On paper they’ve got a great team and I think they’ve hit some form, they should have beat Wigan last week by all accounts so we’ve got to turn up and play really well.”
Lee hasn’t been too downhearted with Wakefield’s start to the season, which has seen them win just once from five games and sit in bottom place in the Super League table - largely thanks to a four-point deduction for going into administration.
Wildcats were praised for their effort in the 22-6 home defeat against a strong Warrington Wolves outfit last time out, a game in which Lee played a key part.
And he believes Wakefield can take plenty of positives from the defeat ahead of the trip to face the Airlie Birds.
“There’s a lot of encouragement come from it because we played a top team on Friday night,” he said.
“They might have left a few players out but across the board they have a really good team. There were certain parts of the game where we thought we were on top a little bit, but we just need to control the ball better and be a bit smarter and I think we could grind a few teams down.
“I think if we have the same effort and same attitude that we turned up with against Warrington, but a bit more smartness about us I think we can go close to getting a win. But I think Hull are a really good team and if you look at the players they’ve got it’s going to be a tough game no matter how we play.”
Victory for Wakefield at the KC Stadium would get them out of negative points and haul them off the bottom of the table if Crusaders fail to beat Catalan Dragons.
And Lee, who has started in all five of Wakefield’s games so far this season, insists scratching off the four-point penalty would be a big psychological boost for him and his teammates.
“I think that’s in the back of everyone’s mind,” he admitted.
“We go out there thinking we can win every game that we play and this week’s no different. I think we have got some confidence coming from the fact that we played alright on Friday and we know that we can be better and hopefully we can get the results.”
Lee may still be referred to as a ‘youngster’ in the grand scheme of a professional rugby league player, but he’s one of the more experienced heads in a youthful Wildcats team this season.
And as well as setting high standards for his own personal performances in 2011, he admits he’s looking to help the less experienced members of the squad adapt to life as a Super League player.
He said: “I’m probably my own worst critic to be honest. I know I have critics all over but I set my own standards and they’re pretty high. I’ve done some things okay but I still want to improve and I think I’ve got a lot of improvement in me.
“I’m not old myself so I feel daft saying ‘young lads’, but we’re a really young team and a lot of them have only played three or four games in Super League and that takes some time getting into speed with because it’s a big jump from the reserves. Everyone has stood up really well and as the season goes on we’ll only get better and better.
“I do try to help them a little bit but I probably get a bit of stick for it too.
“Our team spirit is massive though and no matter what has gone on behind the scenes we’ve all stuck together and everyday we turn up with a smile on our face and we’re laughing and joking with each other and I think that will come through in some games too.”
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