AFTER almost a year out of Super League, Wakefield Trinity’s explosive back-row Chris Annakin is ready to make up for some lost time.
He hopes to get the nod in the derby against Leeds Rhinos tomorrow night after making his long-awaited comeback in Sunday’s impressive 34-24 win at high-flying Salford Red Devils.
Annakin has endured some wretched misfortune since suffering knee ligament damage last July after a high challenge from Wigan Warriors’ Sean O’Loughlin that saw the England captain red carded.
He missed the Challenge Cup semi-final but – just prior to his return two months later – was involved in a car accident and suffered a dislocated hip that sidelined him for the rest of the season.
Annakin played three games on dual-registration for Dewsbury Rams earlier this season but had a shoulder issue and had not played since early April before being called up to face Salford.
“It’s been brilliant,” he said, having finally returned to top-flight action.
I was hoping I might have a little chance to play some dual-reg, get some minutes up and a bit of confidence. But apart from the pre-season friendlies that’s only my fourth game this year so I was really pleased.Chris Annakin
“Obviously it was a bit nerve-wracking my first game back and straight in at the deep end.
“I was hoping I might have a little chance to play some dual-reg, get some minutes up and a bit of confidence. But apart from the pre-season friendlies that’s only my fourth game this year so I was really pleased.”
The Dewsbury-born player came through Wakefield’s academy ranks to emerge as one of Super League’s most promising young forwards.
He now has a battle on to regain a regular spot for Chris Chester’s side who are on a seven-game winning run.
Matty Ashurst has been a revelation since joining from Salford while Dean Hadley has also extended his loan from Hull FC this week.
The latter returns from a broken cheekbone in the 19-man squad tomorrow while prop Mitch Allgood is fit again after a fractured arm, centre Bill Tupou is available and full-back Scott Grix’s recalled after being rested.
However, there is still no second-row and captain Danny Kirmond while loose forward Tinirau Arona and prop Adam Walker are sidelined for the next month at least as well for Trinity, meaning Annakin will be hopeful of stringing some games together himself.
The 26 year-old added: “Unfortunately for some we picked up quite a few injuries against Wigan recently.
“But we have strength in the numbers we have so players like me can come in now and do the job they were doing, take our shot and hopefully try to keep our position.
“I’ve still got a little bit more weight to put on.
“I felt like I didn’t have the same impact that I can have at times at Salford but I was really happy with how my shoulder held out.
“The Leeds game is massive as now we have this little roll going on and it is all confidence; you always play a lot better when you’re fully confident in a winning streak so we need to keep this going as long as we can.”