The Self-Isolation Chronicles: Wakefield Trinity

1. Jacob Miller was forced to deliver his own baby.

Jacob Miller has delivered a lot during his career, namely a 51-metre drop goal at Magic Weekend in 2016 to defeat Catalans Dragons 25-24. This year, it was own baby. The former Hull FC halfback had to deliver his daughter, Blake, in January after his partner Kayla’s water broke at around 1:30 in the morning. She had been on the phone to a midwife and was to preparing to go to hospital. The 27-year-old was making a coffee for his partner and, upon his return, was met by shouts of ‘Quick, it’s coming!’ He promptly put the coffee down (sensible move, Jacob) and literally caught his daughter. All those years of practice finally came in handy. His two boys, Mace and Brock, saw the delivery of their sister Blake, in a rather unexpected turn of events. Miller also had to tie a shoelace bow in the umbilical cord, while waiting for the ambulance to arrive, all while being instructed via the midwife on the phone. The man famed for dropping a goal should be famed for, erm, not dropping his child. As a random side note, 1970s Jamaican reggae singer Jacob Miller also had a song called ‘Baby, I Love You So.’

2. They have never had a Man of Steel.

Wakefield have had some exceptional players since the Man of Steel Award was inaugurated in 1977, but none of them have picked up the individual accolade. Popular forward Jason Demetriou and current star centre Bill Tupou have both come closest, having being heavily touted for the award, while 1999 winner Adrian Vowles was unable to replicate the form for the club in 2002. Wakefield have also been credited with kick-starting the careers of a number of decorated players, such as Ben Westwood, Gareth Ellis, Kyle Amor, Ryan Atkins and Danny Brough, the latter of whom won the award in 2013. Clearly, player retention has not aided Wakefield’s cause in seeing one of their squad members win the accolade, an issue further emulated by the fact Wally Lewis’ 10-game stint would have seen him surely be in contention, had he have stayed in the UK for longer.

3. One of their star players once paid his own transfer fee to leave.

Jonty Parkin joined hometown club Wakefield as a 17-year-old, in 1913, and featured in their Challenge Cup defeat to Hull FC the same year. A later club captain, he played a key role for the club either side of the First World War and was rewarded with a place on the 1920 Great Britain Lions tour of Australasia and the Kangaroo tour of Great Britain the following year. An England and Yorkshire representative, as well, he was a member of the 1925 Yorkshire Cup winning side for Wakefield. But that was the club’s only silverware between 1913 and 1930, and Parkin wanted to jump ship. In 1930, a move to Hull KR was being delayed because they couldn’t find the money to complete the transfer. Parkin found the solution, he could. He coughed up £100 (£6,369 in 2019) to push through the move himself. The game’s laws were later restricted to stop this happening again. All was forgiven, after he retired, as he served for an administrator for Wakefield, sadly passing away in 1972, and was later one of the inaugural nine inductees in the RFL Hall of Fame in 1988.

4. Lee Gilmour holds a unique Grand Final accolade.

Current Wakefield assistant Lee Gilmour holds a rather interesting record in Grand Finals. The 43-year-old is the only man to win Super League Grand finals with three different clubs. A young Gilmour was part of the Wigan side who defeated Leeds 10-4 in the first Grand Final, back in 1998, paving the way for future success. He then completed a switch to Bradford Bulls, in 2001, and watched from the stands that year as the Yorkshire club overcame his previous employers in the final showpiece. The season after Gilmour was on the losing side, by a single drop-goal, in a nail-biting 19-18 loss at the hands of St Helens. The utility forward would finally go on to win an elusive Grand Final with the Bulls, in his third season, winning the 2003 final in a 25-12 win over Wigan once more. A move to St Helens followed that final win for Gilmour, and only three seasons later, he was back at Old Trafford. His appearance in Saints’ 26-4 Grand Final win over Hull FC, in 2006, made him the first and currently only player to win the event with three different sides. That would be his last Grand Final win, as he featured in three successive final defeats to Leeds Rhinos between 2007 and 2009. That triad of defeats, along with the Wigan loss to the Saints in 2000 and the Bulls defeat to the Rhinos in 2002, mean that Gilmour is also the only man to lose finals with three teams as well. But don’t focus on that. Focus on the wins.

5. Tom van Vollenhoven, Fred Griffiths and Wilf Rosenberg made cameos for the club.

The South African trio joined Wakefield for a tour to their homeland in 1962. St Helens legend van Vollenhoven, Wigan favourite Griffiths and former Leeds and Hull FC flier Rosenberg joined Leigh star Edward Brophy for the trip, as well as three resident South Africans in the Wakefield side. Alan Skene, Jan Prinsloo and Colin Greenwood were all key members of West Yorkshire club’s squad, while Gert Coetzer would later join in 1963, and were all eager to showcase their abilities on the continent. Club captain Derek Turner gave Skene the armband for the tour, in honour of the South African contingent. Wakefield strutted their stuff on the tour, showing it was a total mismatch, scoring 281 points and conceding only 66. The tour began on the 30th June, with a 56-2 drubbing of Johannesburg Celtic, followed by a 42-15 win over Boksburg Vikings and a 48-9 win over Bloemfontein Aquilae. Trinity then played three games against South Africa invitational teams, winning 59-3 on the 9th July, 38-25 on the 14th July and 42-8 in their final game on 17th July.