AVOIDING RELEGATION has been Wakefield Trinity’s priority ever since they joined the top division in 1999, but no longer.
Trinity will go into the new season, which begins for them when they visit promoted Hull KR a week today, with real hopes of reaching at least the Betfred Super League semi-finals.
Any improvement on last year – when they finished fifth, missing out on fourth spot by a point – will be good enough to achieve that and half-back Jacob Miller insists Trinity have a squad capable of competing for and winning silverware.
Only narrow losses to St Helens and Hull towards the end of the campaign cost Trinity a play-offs place last year and Miller said they are determined to take ‘the next step’.
Said the Aussie: “We want to be in contention for semi-finals every year.
“We definitely expect a little bit of that from each other, especially after last year, being so close.”
Trinity are now in Lanzarote putting the final touches to preparations for next week’s league opener and Miller is counting down the hours until the big kick-off.
“It has been a long pre-season,” he said.
“I’ve got plenty of running under my belt and it’s nice to know the season is just around the corner and we can start playing some games.
“Everyone is giving us a little bit of credit for once, which is a bit different.
“There’s a bit of added expectation, but there’s no more expectation than what we had on ourselves last year.
“I think we can build on that. We’ve managed to keep the whole squad together, no one really has left and we’ve managed to bring in a few very classy additions – Justin [Horo], Pauli [Pauli], Jordan [Baldwinson] and Ryan [Hampshire].
“We have managed to keep the main core together and also add a few people which is going to stand us in good stead, I think.”
On paper, Trinity’s squad looks as strong as any in the competition and that means players will have to be on top form to stay in the team, according to Miller.
“We’ve got cover everywhere,” he noted.
“There’s plenty of competition in every position, which is what you need.
“It is a long old season here, especially with the Easter period and the Challenge Cup so it’s good to have numbers in the squad.”
Miller formed an effective half-back partnership with Liam Finn last season, but will be under pressure to perform every week following Hampshire’s arrival from Leigh Centurions.
The Normanton Knights product, who has had spells at Wigan Warriors and Castleford Tigers, can play at full-back or in the halves and impressed in his pre-season games.
“He has been good since he has come in,” Miller said. “He has done everything right.
“He is keeping everyone on his toes and he is going to be good for us.
“It’s what you need, you just want to push each other along and get the best out of each other.”