Eddie Battye unconcerned by doubters as Wakefield Trinity tipped for Super League drop

EDDIE BATTYE says Wakefield Trinity aren’t worried about being written off well before a ball has been touched in earnest.

Trinity have built a reputation as Rugby League’s survival specialists, and they hauled themselves back from the brink of relegation last season.

But they have lost a string of players and go into the 2023 campaign under an inexperienced coach in Mark Applegarth.

Some bookmakers are offering 100/1 against Wakefield winning the Grand Final, with Hull KR the next highest priced at 50/1. 

And many observers, including League Express columnist Garry Schofield (see Pulling No Punches on page 9), reckon Trinity will finally fall through the top-flight trapdoor this year.

But popular prop Battye, who is preparing for his third full season at the club after a loan spell there from London Broncos during the Covid-hit 2020 season, is taking a more philosophical approach.

“We’re not really bothered what other people say or think,” insisted the 31-year-old former Sheffield Eagles player, who scored a try in Wakefield’s 38-20 win in the Boxing Day pre-season match at Leeds.

“Everyone is entitled to an opinion, and the bookies have their job to do. Someone has to be top and someone bottom of any list. It is what it is.

“What’s important to us is what we think, and there’s a belief within the club that we can shed that tag of always being too close to the bottom for comfort.

“Yes, we have lost some big players, but we have others who have come in and we also have lads who missed parts of last season through injury but will hopefully be available more regularly this time.

“In Mash (Applegarth), we have a coach who has been at the club a long time and has certainly served his apprenticeship, and he has overseen the development of a crop of good young players who could be the key to this club going forward.”

Fresh from signing a three-year contract, 18-year-old back Oliver Pratt played in the centres alongside highly-rated winger Lewis Murphy, 20, at Leeds, where Trinity also fielded new signings Morgan Smith, the former Featherstone halfback or hooker, and Renouf Atoni, the ex-Sydney Roosters forward.

Former Gold Coast Titans and New Zealand second rower Kevin Proctor and back Samisoni Langi, recruited from Catalans Dragons, could also figure when Wakefield host Halifax in Reece Lyne’s testimonial on Sunday, January 15.