Mark Applegarth on Kevin Proctor’s debut, Halifax competing for Super League promotion and Wakefield Trinity dominance

IT’S fair to say that Wakefield Trinity have a few big guns in their pack going forward into Super League 2023.

Though the West Yorkshire side lost David Fifita, Tinirau Arona, James Batchelor and Yusuf Aydin, the likes of Kevin Proctor and Renouf Atoni have been signed.

And the duo enjoyed strong performances in Wakefield’s 28-16 friendly win over the Halifax Panthers, with head coach Mark Applegarth admitting he is surprised about Proctor’s ball-playing abilities.

“Kevin is exactly what we hoped we would get when we signed him,” Applegarth said. “Everyone saw him and what he was about, he’s a big aggressive thing and he likes mixing it. His leadership is outstanding. I tried getting him off after 20 minutes and was met with a few choice words!

“I see him in the middle and the back-row. We need a middle and he said ‘I would play anywhere you want me to.’

“It surprised me how good his hands are. Renouf (Atoni) has got a lovely set of hands on him, I’m happy with how those two went in the middle. We needed to bolster that pack up a little bit.

“It was good to see Soni (Samisoni Langi) get a run out. Soni has trained the house down and he is a real pro. You know what you are getting with him.”

Trinity put on a strong first-half showing to lead 18-0 at the break and Applegarth recognised that his side wanted to make testimonial hero Reece Lyne proud.

“We were pretty strong in that first-half; I thought we were the dominant team especially in that first 20 minutes,” Applegarth said.

“We were building good pressure, we had a bit of a wobble halfway through and let Halifax get some field position on us. That was our undoing rather than them causing us issues.

“We wanted to put in a performance that made Reece proud. You want to get through them games injury free and as far as I am aware we don’t have major injuries, there are a few bumps and bruises but we are pretty fortunate.”

The Wakefield boss also threw in a number of young players, but was keen to find that balance against a tough Championship opposition.

“You don’t want to throw them all in at the same time. We had Joe Law and Olly Pratt as well with Jordan Schofield stepping up. Halifax will be competing for the Championship title next year.”