Wakefield Trinity to keep hold of key forward for 2023 season

Jai Whitbread will be staying at Wakefield Trinity for at least another season.

The prop joined from Leigh Centurions ahead of this season on a one-year deal, with the option to extend a further season.

With Super League survival close to being assured for Trinity, head coach Willie Poching confirmed the club would be taking up that option.

“He’s been a revelation,” Poching said of the 24-year-old former Gold Coast Titans player, who suffered a knee injury in last Friday’s win at Hull FC.

“He brings so much to the group, not just on the field but off it. 

“For a young fella he’s got some tremendous leadership qualities; not just verbally but his work ethic and standards speak volumes.

“He’s one of those who, at 24, is able to mix in with the younger blokes and the senior group. He’s a fantastic bridge. 

“Some of the work he’s done with the young guys from the start of pre-season has been enormous for their progression and how he’s brought them along.

“It’s no surprise, when you see how he works and trains every day, that he performs how he does.”

While Whitbread stays for another year, Wakefield fans have likely seen the last of James Batchelor in a Trinity jersey.

The forward’s move to Hull KR was confirmed last week, shortly after he picked up a hamstring injury that is likely to rule him out for the final weeks of the season.

However, Poching hopes to have Kelepi Tanginoa in his pack for some of the run-in, despite receiving a three-match ban last week.

The club has appealed against the length of the suspension, handed down for Grade C dangerous contact, and their case will be heard by a tribunal this week.

Tanginoa served one game against Hull and is currently also set to miss the Bank Holiday double-header matches against Hull KR and St Helens.

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