Wakefield Trinity kick off their 2024 Challenge Cup campaign today with a trip to Siddal but Daryl Powell’s side may not yet be done in the transfer market.
Trinity were relegated from Super League at the end of the 2023 campaign with their two losses against local rivals Castleford Tigers proving to be the difference between themselves and the Tigers, and so ended Wakefield’s long stay in Super League.
Since then though the feeling around the club has generally been one of positivity, as opposed to one of misery that could have been expected given the drop down into the Championship.
Much of that has come on account of the new ownership from local business Matt Ellis who has turned the attitude of fans around and set about building a very impressive squad to push for promotion, and then kick on in Super League too as Leigh Leopards did in 2023.
Not only has he helped with off-field developments but the team that Trinity have set about building looks to be the strongest the Championship has ever seen, and yet it could still be added to.
Wakefield Trinity build incredible squad for 2024
Trinity have made some brilliant signings but what has been impressive has been their ability to retain talent with a spine of Max Jowitt, Mason Lino, Luke Gale and Liam Hood all remaining at the club.
As such they’ve been able to build around that and form a squad that you’d expect to make a dent in Super League, never mind the Championship.
New wingers Lachlan Walmsley and Jermaine McGillvary blend pace and experience, whilst centre Iain Thornley is also a very savvy signing.
The club have then added plenty down the middle with Frenchman Mathieu Cozza signing alongside imports from down under Caleb Uele, Luke Bain, Toby Boothroyd and Isaiah Vagana.
Vagana is the son of Bradford Bulls legend Joe and the new Trinity man recently spoke on what it meant to come to England.
The 23-year-old arrived thanks to a widening of player availability due to UK visa rules, which made it easier for clubs to recruit players from both the New South Wales and Queensland Cup which is something Daryl Powell had spoken about in terms of recruitment.
Trinity expected to make more signings
In early January following the relaxation of the visa requirements Powell spoke on the club’s YouTube channel about how the new player pool could be something they tap into.
Later that day they announced the signature of Vagana but the club still have a vacant shirt number after leaving both shirts 18 and 19 available when confirming their squad numbers.
It’s presumed that Vagana will take one of those shirts but the other is still available with less than a week until Trinity’s season officially starts.
Powell had explained the necessity for any recruit to be the right fit, stating they must “certain that they’ll take us to Super League“.
On the relaxed visa situation, he explained: “I suppose the one thing that has changed has been the change of rules with the Queensland Cup, the New South Wales Cup. There is potentially an ability to bring some players in that you couldn’t get qualified before, so those rules have changed.
“For us we’ve had another look at the market and we want to get it right. If we bring anybody else in, I think we’ve got to be certain that they’ll take us into Super League as well.”
At the time he even spoke about the number of possible signings, stating: “Yeah, there’s potentially one or two, but based on that change of rules. But we’re working hard. Steve Millers, obviously, has got great relationship with agents over in Australia and in this country as well.”