The Super League Era
Promotion to Super League
Wakefield were reduced to lower division football with the arrival of Super League in 1995 but earned their place in the top flight on the back of their dramatic victory over Featherstone in the inaugural Division One Grand Final in 1998.
With the appointment of Shane McNally as head coach and Tony Smith as his assistant, the pair guided the Wildcats to there first ever Super League play off position after many years of struggling near the foot of the table.
The Wildcats finished in 6th place in 2004 despite a slow start to the season. A stronger finish than any other team in the competition gave the Wildcats momentum heading into the end of season play-off series.
The Wildcats produced a remarkable performance against Hull at the KC Stadium, beating the black and whites despite having two men sin binned.
The semi's saw the Wildcats visit Wigan Warriors and stormed into a 14-0 lead. Wigan fought back and brought an end to the Wildcats first ever appearance in the Super League play-offs.
2005 - 2006
2005 was a year of inconsistency, with the Wildcats beating Wigan and Bradford on their travels but losing to Widnes and Huddersfield. The team were capable of producing superb play, as the 44-28 victory over Leeds Rhinos showed, but the Wildcats leaked over 900 points in the 2005 competition.
Tony Smith took over from Shane McNally in June and saw a positive response from the team, however the season ended with little to play for, with the Wildcats too far away from the top 6 and Widnes and Leigh relegated.
An inconsistent 2006 saw Tony Smith's reign ultimately come to an end after the Wildcats surrendered a 20-0 lead to fall to a 26-20 defeat to Huddersfield Giants. Former England coach John Kear was brought in with Wakefield staring down the barrel of relegation from the top flight.
The transformation in team performance could not have been more emphatic with a stunning 18-0 victory over Castleford in Kear's first match in charge, despite having two men sent off. This was backed up with victory over Les Catalans and a superb performance but heart-breaking 14-12 loss to Leeds at home.
Despite the loss and the media writing off the Wildcats, the players, coaching staff and fans believed that the team was good enough to stay-up, and this was proven by a tough performance against Super League Champions St.Helens.
The real turning point came at Odsal a week later when the Wildcats produced a Herculean effort to nullify the Bradford attack and produced three superb tries of their own to come away with a 12-20 win.
The Million Pound Match
This brought the final match against Castleford at Belle Vue into sharp focus as the most-hotly contested match in the 10-year history of Super League, dubbed "The Million Pound Match".
Tickets were like gold-dust as the match sold out in advance of kick-off, with 11,000 fans packed into the famous old stadium for a winner takes all clash. For the victor, a place in Super League was assured but for the losers, a return to the second tier of the game awaited.
The 29-17 result in favour of the Wildcats meant John Kear and his squad had achieved the seemingly impossibly by maintaining the clubs Super League status on one of the most dramatic night's in the modern day history of the club.
The Wildcats began 2007 as one of the form teams and topped Super League after four rounds. A mid-season slump saw John Kear's men drop towards the foot of the table before a resurgence fired the Wildcats back into the top six. However, four defeats in their final four games meant the season ended on a damp note and saw the Wildcats fall out of the play-off places.
An inconsistent 2008 meant the Wildcats never enjoyed the dizzy heights in the league table that they did in 2007, and despite flirting with the play-offs the highlight of the league campaign was arguably a 54-16 win over local rivals Castleford Tigers at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff.
If the league campaign didn't quite live up to some fans expectations, the Challenge Cup run certainly gave the whole city something to shout about. Kear had won the cup twice with Sheffield Eagles and Hull FC, and guided the Wildcats to within one match of Wembley. The Wildcats fell at the last four stage to Hull FC after a blistering start to the semi-final by the black and whites left Trinity with an uphill struggle to get back into the match.
Backed by a fantastic support at the Keepmoat Stadium, the Wildcats threw everything at Hull FC but ultimately to no avail.
The most important victory in 2008 came in the shape of the awarding of a Super League license from the Rugby Football League as the sport embarked on a franchise system for the first ever time.
The 2009 campaign was dedicated to the memory of popular prop forward Adam Watene. Adam tragically died in the gym ahead of pre-season and his passing stunned the rugby league family and left the Wildcats squad and supporters deeply saddened. Captain and close friend Jason Demetriou wore Adam's number 8 jersey for the season in memory of the Cook Islander, and led the Wildcats magnificentally in his memory.
An opening round win in the snow against Wigan Warriors was the perfect start to the season as the Wildcats hit the ground running. Sadly, more tragedy struck the club, with youngster Leon Walker dying on the field during a reserve grade game with Celtic Crusaders resulting in the first team match scheduled to be postponed. His untimely death once again saw the rugby league world show their support to the Wildcats and on an emotional night at Belle Vue, the stadium fell silent for almost ten minutes before the kick-off against St. Helens.
The Wildcats did the memory of both players proud throughout 2009 and a five match winning run at the end of the season earned teh Wildcats a best-ever Super League finish of fifth and a first ever home play-off.
Catalans Dragons were the visitors and despite a late rally from the Wildcats, the French outfit came out 25-16 victors.
A New Era
Wakefield Trinity Wildcats prepare for the Super League XVII campaign with a new Head Coach in Richard Agar and more than a dozen new signings all set to give the Wildcats a realistic opportunity to compete with the best the competition has to offer.
With a new owner the club is planning to redevelop its current Rapid Solicitors Stadium home in line with their Super League license application, and with the club continuing to make strides on and off the pitch, the club has seen membership sales hit record levels.
A new chapter in the rich history of Wakefield Trinity Wildcats is just beginning, and it promises to be one of the most exciting yet.