Jai Whitbread relishing new Super League challenge at Wakefield Trinity

Jai Whitbread believes his short spell at Leigh Centurions last season will help him prepare for a full Super League season with Wakefield Trinity.

It was confirmed last week that the Australian prop had signed a one-year deal, with the option of a second season, to play at Belle Vue.

Whitbread, 23, has made 30 appearances in the NRL with Gold Coast Titans but swapped Queensland for the north of England to join Leigh in August.

He only made four appearances for the Centurions, who by that time looked certainties for relegation, but he believes he now has a better idea of what to expect of Super League ahead of a first full season in it.

“My time at Leigh has given me an insight into what I can expect playing in Super League and I’m really looking forward to it,” said Whitbread, who becomes Wakefield’s sixth signing of the off-season.

“It’s a high-paced game, there are plenty of offloads and the ball is always in play.

“It’s a really enjoyable brand of footy to play and watch, so I’m just ready to get ripped in now and can’t wait for it.”

Head coach Willie Poching expressed his own delight at securing Whitbread’s signature, the sixth new addition ahead of his first full season in charge, saying: “It’s not often you get someone of Jai’s NRL experience and age on our doorstep.

“So, when the chance came to meet and speak to him, I was taken by his demeanour, size and his will to keep developing and have a big impact on our team and club.

“He has a great skill set for a big fella, and he will complement and enhance the style we want to implement next season.”

Whitbread will wear the number 15 shirt next season, as Trinity last week confirmed their squad numbers for the new campaign.

As for their other signings, Tom Lineham is number five, Liam Hood will wear nine, Lee Gaskell takes the 17 shirt, Sadiq Adebiyi will have 23 on his back, and Corey Hall will sport 30.

Eddie Battye and Jay Pitts have been promoted to starting jerseys, eight and 13 respectively, while David Fifita, who wore number eight in 2021, has been given shirt number 35.

Wakefield Trinity 2022 squad numbers: 1 Max Jowitt, 2 Tom Johnstone, 3 Bill Tupou, 4 Reece Lyne, 5 Tom Lineham (last season Liam Kay), 6 Jacob Miller, 7 Mason Lino, 8 Eddie Battye (David Fifita), 9 Liam Hood (Kyle Wood), 10 Tinirau Arona, 11 Matty Ashurst, 12 Kelepi Tanginoa, 13 Jay Pitts (Joe Westerman), 14 Jordan Crowther (Jay Pitts), 15 Jai Whitbread (Eddie Battye), 16 James Batchelor, 17 Lee Gaskell (Chris Green), 18 Lee Kershaw (Innes Senior), 19 Liam Kay (Jordan Crowther), 20 Jack Croft (Joe Arundel), 21 Brad Walker (Alex Walker), 22 Yusuf Aydin (Adam Tangata), 23 Sadiq Adebiyi (Josh Wood), 24 Harry Bowes (Jack Croft), 25 Sam Eseh (Brad Walker), 26 Pat O’Donovan (Yusuf Aydin), 27 Lewis Murphy (Lee Kershaw), 28 Dane Windrow (Olly Ashall-Bott), 29 Isaac Shaw (Ryan Hampshire), 30 Corey Hall (Josh Eaves), 35 David Fifita

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