Wakefield Trinity Wildcats have received a boost with impressive young forward Chris Annakin committing his future to the club by signing a new two-year deal.
The 22-year-old’s contract was up at the end of the season but, after producing some stand-out performances in his debut Super League season, the Wakefield academy product has penned a deal that will keep him at the Rapid Solicitors Stadium until the end of the 2015 campaign.
“My goals at the start of the year were to make my debut and keep my shirt, then getting my future sorted was the next one after that,” said Annakin.
“I’ve enjoyed my rugby this year and been really happy with how it’s gone so far. There’s still half the season to go so I want to kick on and keep improving.
“At the start of last pre-season I’d had a shoulder operation so I didn’t get to make the first impression I would have wanted on Rich [Agar]. He told me to come back for this pre-season, rip in and that’s what I’ve done.
“As pre-season went on Rich spent more time with me and he was true to his word and gave me my opportunity.”
The former Shaw Cross Sharks man made his Super League debut for Wakefield in the 28-0 victory at London Broncos in February and scored his first try in Saturday’s Magic Weekend defeat against Castleford Tigers.
He was in Wildcats’ first team squad last season, Agar’s first in charge at the club, and the Wakefield coach has been delighted with the progress of the talented forward.
“He’s worked really hard on his game and himself over the last 12 months,” said Agar.
“He’s had a great impact for us so far this year and this is reward for his progress. Now we want him to push on and be a regular first grader. It’s very pleasing that he’s a player that has come through from our academy.”
Annakin’s new deal follows hot-on-the-heels of Wildcats penning one of their more senior players in Andy Raleigh to an extended stay.
It was aided by the club’s lottery scheme, Club 1873, that is aimed at helping youth development at the club in signing and retaining homegrown players.
The scheme also helped Ben Shulver sign professional terms from the academy and Wildcats chief executive James Elston is delighted to see it bearing fruit.
“When we launched Club 1873 it was to fund the youth development and we’re really beginning to see the fruits of that 18 months down the line,” he commented.
“It was always going to take a bit of time but we’re really pleased that we’ve now been able to give Ben Shulver the chance to become a professional player and retain Chris for the next two years.
“This weekend’s opponents, Wigan, are a shining light of bringing through local players into the first team and that didn’t just happen overnight. It takes time and it takes investment and the more fans we have supporting Club 1873 the stronger position we can be in to see more local talent given the chance to come into the first team squad and try and stake a claim for a place in the team.”