NOW ON his fourth Super League club at the age of just 23, Ryan Hampshire is ready to settle down and find some stability at Wakefield Trinity.
Wakefield-born Hampshire joined Trinity last month from Leigh Centurions on a one-year contract and is set to make his second appearance in Sunday’s trial game at home to Halifax.
An outstanding performance in the Boxing Day defeat by Leeds Rhinos suggested Hampshire could be a big hit for Trinity this year and he feels joining his hometown club is the “perfect” move.
“It has been good,” said the former Normanton Knights junior who has also played in the top flight for Wigan Warriors and Castleford Tigers.
“It is only my second week this week so I am just getting up to scratch and getting to know all the boys, but I am settling in.
“I am only five minutes down the road from Wakey and I am trying to get some stability. Travelling to Leigh, getting up at 5.30am to be there for 7, was not for me. I wasn’t enjoying it.
“If I get that stability you are going to see the best of me – that’s what I need.
“I have supported Wakefield all my life and right now this is the perfect move. I could not have asked for better. I have got that stability, playing for the club I’ve always wanted to play for.”
Hampshire revealed he was only “30 per cent fit” on Boxing Day and is hoping to be in better shape this weekend.
Trinity begin their Betfred Super League campaign at Hull KR four weeks tonight and Hampshire said: “I can feel myself getting fitter and by the first week in February I will be ready.
I have supported Wakefield all my life and right now this is the perfect move. I could not have asked for better. I have got that stability, playing for the club I’ve always wanted to play for.Wakefield’s Ryan Hampshire
“I had an injury from the million pound game [when Leigh lost to Catalans Dragons in September].
“I fractured my fibula and played the last 20 minutes with that. I could not run for nine or 10 weeks after that, which is why I am not as fit as I can be.
“I am going to make sure I am as sharp as I can be for the first week. There’s another four weeks and that’s perfect, it’s enough time to get right up to scratch.”
Hampshire played at half-back against Leeds, but is also an option for the No 1 slot. He stressed: “Whichever opportunity comes up first I am going to take.
“I have played half-back all my life, but I am not just primed for one position – I can play either. There’s experienced players in both positions. I am 23 now and I’ve been around a bit, I have played more than 70 first-team games and I am confident in myself.
“I am going to learn from the experienced players here and it’s good to have that competition.”
Trinity missed out on the play-offs by one place last year and Hampshire reckons they can go at least one better. He insisted: “We’ve got a brilliant squad, they’ve made some really good signings.
“The last few games they probably weren’t at their best, but they should have nailed the top-four. Maybe this year – we’re definitely going to be a better team and hopefully we can get to the top-four or the Challenge Cup final.
“We’ve got some really good forwards, they’re going to be strong and it’ll be good as a half-back or full-back playing off the back of them.
“I know I can do some really good things playing off fast rucks and that sort of thing.”