Wakefield Trinity: Wood carving out a working partnership at hooker

Kyle Wood is tackled by Ahton Golding.
Kyle Wood is tackled by Ahton Golding.

KYLE WOOD is happy to share hooking duties for Wakefield Trinity this season.

The 28-year-old started in all but four of his 29 games last year, but Tyler Randell’s arrival from Newcastle Knights late in the season gave coach Chris Chester an added option in the No 9 role.

Tyler Randell.

Tyler Randell.

Randell will miss Trinity’s Betfred Super League opener at Hull KR in 17 days’ time due to a pre-season knee injury and though Chester will have a decision to make when the Australian recovers, Wood insists the hookers are a partnership, rather than rivals.

“It is good competition, but we just want to work together,” he stressed.

“If I am off the bench, or he is, you just need to know you are going to make a good impact on the game.

“That’s building a partnership with each other.

“The competition’s there and Chezzy has to pick the hooker who’s most in-form – he’s going to play the most games and the most minutes.

“I suppose we are in competition, but if he is going to use us both and we’ve got to use that partnership to both be playing well together.”

Liam Finn can also slot in at hooker, but Wood is likely to get more time on the field during Randell’s lay-off.

“It puts me under a bit more pressure,” he admitted.

“There is probably going to be a bit more workload in the first few games, but I suppose it is better for him to do it now before the season than at the back end.

“If we can get him back after a few games it’s not going to be too bad for us.”

Though he can also play at scrum-half, Wood confirmed he prefers the No 9 role.

“I kind of cemented that position last year. I really enjoyed it and I had a pretty good year,” he said. I just want to keep building on each year and hopefully I’ll have another good year.”

Wood is in his second spell at Trinity and has also had two stints with both Sheffield Eagles and Huddersfield Giants, as well as time at Doncaster, Castleford Tigers and Batley Bulldogs.

He returned to Wakefield ahead of the 2017 season and said: “I have been here a few times and it’s always the same, there’s always a good group of blokes here.

“After a good team performance last year I definitely feel I was a big part of that, so I feel settled.”

After they finished fifth last season, Trinity’s target for 2018 is a semi-final spot.

“We weren’t far away last year,” Wood recalled.

“There were a few games we lost by a few points, when errors at the back end cost us.

“I think if we cut those out ,hopefully we can make that top-four.”

Wood played in Trinity’s opening two trial games, but was rested when a young side were beaten 24-12 at Batley Bulldogs two days ago.

Wakefield complete their pre-season campaign against his previous club Huddersfield at Belle Vue on Saturday and he insists they are counting down the days until the real business begins.

“I think the last two trial games have got us ready for the start of the season,” he said.

“We need to keep building – the Boxing Day game wasn’t great, but we put in a decent performance against Halifax.”