Lee warns Wildcats about Crusaders threat

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WAKEFIELD Trinity Wildcats hooker Tommy Lee has warned his teammates not to expect an easy ride when they visit Super League basement side Crusaders on Friday night.

Lee spent last season with the Welsh club and although they currently prop up the rest of Super League, the 23-year-old expects his former side to improve greatly in the second half of the campaign.

“It’s going to be a really tough game, they played well last week and it’ll be exciting going back,” he said.

“I think on paper they’ve got a great squad. They turned over Huddersfield a few weeks ago which shows what they can do. Last year they had a late push and got into the play-offs and I think they could do that again this year.

“On their day they can beat anyone and they’re a great set of lads. There’s not been much banter yet because we played Sunday so it’s been a short turnaround, but I’ll probably get a few texts tomorrow.”

He continued: “People write us off but I think we’ve proved a few people wrong so hopefully we’ll go down there and play like we have been doing and hopefully get a result.”

Wildcats are in a good vein of form and have won both of their matches this month - a close-fought 26-24 victory over Hull KR and emphatic 50-10 Carnegie Challenge Cup win over Doncaster at the weekend.

With the RFL looking over franchise bids, May could be a crucial month for the Rapid Solicitors Stadium club, with a Challenge Cup fifth round clash with derby rivals Castleford Tigers and home game against Catalans Dragons following the trip to Wales.

And Lee acknowledges the importance of the current period in both league and cup competitions.

“I’d say if we can keep picking up these wins and have a decent cup run it’ll do us no harm,” he said.

“Everyone at the club wants to get that licence and if we keep performing and getting those results we should really get one.

“We’re in a position at the minute where we’re playing quite well. We had a bit of a ropey game against Doncaster but fair play to them they had a really good crack. But hopefully, we have a nice little period where we play teams in and around us in the table and if we can get points over them then it’ll be good for us.”

Wildcats head coach John Kear has always insisted his young and ever-growing side will improve as the season progresses.

It’s a view shared by Lee, and he believes those improvements are already being highlighted with some positive performances and results to match.

“We’ve still got out feet on the ground but with the things we’ve been working on we’ve been improving each week,” he said.

“That’s been our main aim, to improve each week. We set our goal out to be a miles better team at the end of the season than we were at the beginning. We’re halfway through now and we’ve improved so hopefully now we can kick-on, get a good cup run together and string a few more wins together.

“We’ve had new additions all the time and people are still getting used to what we do and how we play and we’ve got a very healthy squad at the minute. No matter what people think, we had to leave six or seven really good players out every week. Everyone’s fighting for their place which is good for us and good for the club in general.

“Everyone’s on their toes, it’s good for our club. People wrote us off but when people come and look at our squad and the people we have to leave out, it’s pretty good for the club with the strength in depth we have.”

Lee is one of just two Wakefield players to have featured in all 13 Super League matches so far this season, scoring three tries along the way, with Paul Johnson being the other.

He’s already played more times in the red, white and blue of the Wildcats this term than he did for Crusaders in the whole of last season.

And he’s happy with the way things are going for him.

He said: “I do think I’ve progressed, I’ve learnt a lot.

“John (Kear) has let me play half-back and I haven’t played that for a couple of years but I’m really enjoying it. I think I can still improve a lot don’t get me wrong but I’m just really enjoying my role and responsibility at the minute.”

See Friday’s Wakefield Express Sport for all the latest sports news from around the district.