Wakefield Wildcats: New recruit given another shot at the big time

Jason Walton makes a tackle for Salford against his new club Wakefield.Jason Walton makes a tackle for Salford against his new club Wakefield.
Jason Walton makes a tackle for Salford against his new club Wakefield.
WAKEFIELD Trinity Wildcats have completed another piece of recruitment by signing London Broncos’ Jason Walton on a 12-month deal.

The player, who is equally at home at centre or in the back-row, featured against Wakefield with Salford City Reds twice in Super League last season, winning both times, before moving to Championship club London in July.

A strong-running attacker, who defends with real steel, Walton started his career at Salford but spent four years at Batley Bulldogs.

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He made more than 100 appearances with the West Yorkshire part-timers and helped them win the 2010 Northern Rail Cup final, earning a second stab at Super League when re-joining Salford for the last two campaigns.

After a bright start, which saw him sign a new three-year deal in July 2014, he struggled to maintain his progress, however, in Marwan Koukash’s often chaotic reign and – deemed unwanted by new coach Ian Watson – was off-loaded to London this summer.

But Wakefield chief Brian Smith is now willing to give the 25-year-old another chance at top-flight football.

Walton, who joins up with Trinity for pre-season training on Monday morning, admitted: “I am very excited to have signed. Its a great opportunity. I am looking forward to working with Brian Smith, he is a fantastic coach and I cannot wait to continue to grow as a player and learn from him.”

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He made six appearances with London last term, scoring three tries, having started the campaign with seven games at Salford before falling out of favour.

As a centre, Walton will face stiff competition at Wakefield after they signed Ashley Gibson from Castleford Tigers for 2016 and given they already have NRL capture Bill Tupou on their books.

Furthermore, in the second-row, Smith can call upon captain Danny Kirmond, Cronulla recruit Tinirau Arona, Matty Ashurst, Jon Molloy and Chris Annakin to name five.

However, for all he has hit problems in recent months, Walton is undeniably talented and the Leeds-born player will certainly bring versatility and options for Smith in the campaign ahead while hopefully being eager to prove he is worthy of that potential contract extension.

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Smith added: “Jason has immediately impressed everyone at the Wildcats with his enthusiasm.

“His rugby talents and strong physical attributes suggest Jason will make a real contribution in this big opportunity for him.”