Wizarding winger Walmsley has 50-year Wakefield record in his sights

Not for 50 years has a Wakefield player scored 38 tries in a single season. So who better than last year’s top Championship performer to attempt to topple the long-standing record?
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Superstar winger Lachlan Walmsley arrived at Belle Vue ahead of the 2024 campaign following another impressive season at Halifax Panthers, in which he scored, coincidentally, 38 tries in just 30 appearances.

Another 38 this time around for his new side and he will join legendary Wakefield figures David Smith (1973-74) and Fred Smith (1959-60) in the club record books for most tries in a season. 39 or more and he will have the honour all to himself.

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And the Scotland international has already made a rapid start to life at Trinity with six tries in his first four appearances in the 1895 Cup and Challenge Cup.

Lachlan Walmsley scores a try for Wakefield against York in the 1895 CupLachlan Walmsley scores a try for Wakefield against York in the 1895 Cup
Lachlan Walmsley scores a try for Wakefield against York in the 1895 Cup

“I am setting my target around that,” Walmsley insisted. “I got 38 in all competitions last season, so it’s a good bar to set. 32 more to go.”

The Australian-born winger soon became a fan favourite at The Shay thanks to his trademark acrobatic finishes.

In total, he notched, phenomenally, 68 tries in just 54 outings over two years with the Panthers after signing from Whitehaven in 2022.

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But, frighteningly, that was as a part-time player at night while he was brick-laying through the day. Just imagine the damage he could now cause to Championship defences in a full-time environment led by the experienced Daryl Powell.

Walmsley said: “Since day one when I signed for Whitehaven three years ago I have always had the goal of wanting to play Super League and I’ve given the best possible chance at every club.

“At Halifax these last two years I needed to play good rugby to take that next step up. Adjusting from part-time has been a lot easier than I first originally thought. The training and the load on your legs is harder but it’s easier in that I don’t have to do a day’s work and then have to go to training at night.

“It’s about a seven-hour day at training and it’s a lot less taxing than a day at actual work. I can’t say I will miss it. It’s been lovely to just train and worry about rugby. I can do other things now like play golf.”

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Under Powell, and the vision of new owner Matt Ellis, the ultimate goal is for Trinity to make a swift return to Super League following relegation at the end of last season.

They could even make a statement in the Challenge Cup as well having built up some strong pre-Championship momentum in February. Trinity scored 51 tries in their opening four competitive fixtures.

They are also through to the semi-finals of the 1895 Cup, a competition which Walmsley knows well having been a part of the Fax side which lifted the trophy at Wembley last August in the thrilling 12-10 victory over Batley Bulldogs.

Walmsley said: “The main one for us this season is promotion but we also want to go as far as we can in the Challenge Cup. We do have a decent side on paper if we can work it all out on the field. And we have definitely circled the 1895 Cup at Wembley.

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“Matt and Daryl have built the side to keep it as a very professional side to go straight back up to Super League. There is a belief that we should be able to go back up.

“I’ve gone from a team that hunts the bigger sides to being at one of the bigger sides. Everyone will look to get a win against us and always want to play well against the big teams.

“It just means I can’t have a day off or a bad day at the office now. I have got to prepare the best way that I can, physically and mentally, for every game.”

Walmsley also confirmed he has kept in touch with his former team-mates at Halifax, although that friendship will possibly evaporate for at least 160 minutes over the course of the season when their paths finally cross.

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“It’s going to be an interesting match when we face up against them,” the winger revealed. “I caught up with Louis (Jouffret) Woody (James Woodburn-Hall) and Keyesy (Joe Keyes) when Halifax played against Hammersmith.

“They are blokes who I had a good two years with. It’s a good club which I wish nothing but the best for.

“It is a fixture which we have all circled in the calendar to wind each other up with.”