IT’S been years in the making but prop forward Liam Higgins will finally make his home debut for Wakefield Trinity Wildcats in their Super League clash against Harlequins on Sunday.
The 27-year-old recently put pen-to-paper on an 18-month deal with Wakefield from Sheffield Eagles and featured as a replacement in the Wildcats’ defeat at Huddersfield Giants last weekend.
But his debut for the Merrie City side could have come as far back as six years ago when Tony Smith, the former Wakefield head coach, twice tried to secure his services while he was at Hull FC.
The next chapter in the story came at the end of last season when Wakefield again tried to bring him to the Rapid Solicitors Stadium but the well-documented financial problems saw him opt for a move to the Eagles.
With those problems now firmly behind them, Wildcats have been able to lure the former Castleford Tigers man to Belle Vue and he’s set to play in front of the Wakefield crowd for the first time this weekend.
“I’ve nearly signed three or four times now,” he said.
“John’s tried to sign me a couple of times, he came in at the end of the season but he asked me to wait a bit longer because of financial troubles and it’s gone from there really. So when John came back in for me I jumped at the chance. I’d spoke to him before and they came back in for me and I’m pleased to be here now. I nearly signed a few times when Tony Smith was in charge too. I’d been down a few times to see him but nothing got agreed.”
Higgins was thrown straight into the deep end when Wakefield travelled to the Galpharm Stadium to face the on-song Giants last weekend, a game which finished 34-10 in favour of the hosts but which saw Kear’s men push their local rivals all the way.
But he’s pleased with what he’s seen in the week-and-a-half that he’s been a Wildcat.
“I had a really good last week and a half, I’ve really enjoyed it and I’m glad to be back in Super League,” he said.
“When I met John (Kear) the first thing he said to me that the new owners have been a breath of fresh air and he thinks they’re going to kick-on and take the club forward so that was a big part of me coming here. All the boys have been brilliant and everything’s been good so far.
He added: “The first day when I sat here I remember saying to Paul King that I can’t believe how young the team was. It’s good because young kids bring enthusiasm and it rubs off on everyone really.”
The Doncaster-born prop is keen to pick up a victory in his first game on home soil when Harlequins visit West Yorkshire.
The London club have enjoyed an good start to the season, with a victory at St Helens amongst their impressive results so far.
And Higgins knows he and his new teammates will face a tough challenge come 3.30pm on Sunday.
“We played away last week so it’s really good to be playing in front of the home fans this week,” he said.
“They’ve surprised a lot of people and we know they’re not going to be pushovers. They’re similar to us, they’re going to have to work hard and they have some big outside backs so we know it’s going to be a tough game.
“They’re travelling well, they’ve won a few games away so we know they’re going to throw everything at us.
He continued: “You can’t fault the effort everyone’s putting in, you just need to be a bit smarter and everyone’s learning but at the end of the day everyone in that team is a Super League player so we need to turn those performances into results.”
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