Wakefield Trinity Wildcats coach Richard Agar goes in to the New Year relatively pleased with the shape of his squad for Super League XIX.
Having been forced to shed some players in the light of a £400,000 income shortfall uncovered at the end of last season, the pre-Christmas capture of Samoan international half back or hooker Pita Godinet from New Zealand Warriors was the Wildcats’ sixth signing, with more likely to come.
“We’ve got a couple of spots left,” Agar said after his side’s Boxing Day 18-18 draw at Headingley Carnegie Stadium.
“We are not going to tick every box on our wish list. I would like another senior front rower, but we are light on outside backs and we’d like to bolster that and maybe another pivot if our budget allows.
“We’ve got some blokes we’d expect to be here for the start of the season who didn’t play today.”
As well as Godinet, Parramatta’s Matt Ryan and prop Scott Anderson are awaiting visas.
“With what we’ve budgeted, we have space to squeeze a couple more guys in and we’ve found that recruiting after everyone else has finished and other squad’s finalised, we’ve been able to get some bargains like Pita.
“As far as offloading goes, that’s pretty much it. We feel we have players who will give us value for money.”
With the RFL seemingly intent on bringing in promotion and relegation for the 2014 campaign, come what may, the Wildcats supremo is confident that he has the armoury to avoid being part of a likely dogfight at the bottom.
“Of course we are conscious of it but we were left with a situation in the off-season that we’ve had to deal with the best we could. Two years ago the same thing happened and we put a side together late, but I’d say we were a long way off being a relegation team.”
“We’ve got a new squad which brings renewed energy. Given the circumstances and timescale, we are still going to end up with a competitive team on the park. It’s how quick we can get them to gel and there are probably sides in a worse position than us.
“Before every rainbow there is rain.”
Agar hopes that the stalemate that saw the Heatshot Trophy shared with the Rhinos will act as a further incentive for Wakefield fans to jump on the Belle Vue bandwagon.
“Paul McShane is going to be a real asset for us; there were a couple of times we could have capitalised more on the work he did around the ruck and Daniel Smith looked promising.
“It’s not all doom and gloom – we are in a pretty good spot considering the upheaval.”
Meanwhile Wakefield are reported to have made a bid to sign 21-year-old Australian halfback Harry Siejka.
Siejka was a star junior for Penrith Panthers and was man of the match for the touring Australian Schoolboys in both games of the series defeat by England Academy in 2010. He made his debut the following year in the NRL but played only four first grade games before joining NZ Warriors at the start of last year. Mid-season he joined St George Illawarra but was unable to break into first grade.
Siejka would have difficulties getting a work visa due to his lack of NRL experience, but the Wildcats are hopeful he will qualify for an EU passport due to his Polish descent.
Leeds Rhinos centre Jimmy Keinhorst has also been linked with a loan move to Belle Vue.