posted on 17 October 2012

Members of Club 1873 have helped pave the way for the Wildcats to offer twelve youngsters their first professional contracts with the club.

Ryan Hudson is overseeing the Wildcats youth development programme which is funded by Club 1873.

Fresh from the confirmation that the RFL have re-structured the scholarship and academy structure within all Super League clubs, the Wildcats are putting together the under 19’s squad for 2013.

From next season the previous format of Under 18 and Under 20’s academy sides will evolve into one Under 19’s outfit with the aim to improve standards of the competition for all Super League academy systems. With that will come an extension of the Dual Registration and loan arrangements meaning Championship clubs are entitled to more players on a temporary basis from the top tier.

Thanks to Club 1873 members who pay £2 a week for the chance to win weekly cash prizes and other prizes throughout the week, no fewer than ten members of the Wakefield Academy have signed their first professional contracts whilst two others have been lured from other clubs to become part of the Wildcats.

All money raised by the Wildcats lottery scheme goes directly into the well renowned Trinity academy structure which has seen Kyle Trout and Lucas Walshaw make their mark at first team level this season having come through the ranks at the club.

The 2012 Wildcats U18 Players and Coaches Player of the Year Ben Shulver along with Man of Steel James Healey are two of the players that have signed professional deals for the first time which also include Reece Trout, brother of first team member, Kyle.

Wildcats CEO James Elston thanked the members of Club 1873 for their support in what is a crucial part of the sustained success of any elite sports club.

“It’s fantastic that we’ve been able to offer twelve players their first professional contracts with us for 2013 and we have the members of Club 1873 to thank for that,” said Elston.

“Bringing young players through the Scholarship and Academy is something that every club strives to do and it is a massively important part of us being able to compete for years to come.  Allowing them to develop both as players and importantly as rounded individuals naturally costs money, and Club 1873 funding that means we can give these young players the best possible opportunity to fulfil their potential.

“We’ve seen over the last couple of seasons players like Matty Wildie, Kyle Trout and Lucas Walshaw come through to be part of the first team squad and over the next few years we’ll see more players from Wakefield coming through the player development pathway and into the first team squad.”

Elston says that much of the 2012 season has been spent looking into what the Wildcats do with youth development and they club are now well placed to push on.

“A lot of work has gone on behind the scenes in the last twelve months to look at where we are with our structures and it has taken that length of time to evaluate the many areas that we are doing well in and also the areas where we can make improvements.

“We’ve brought in Ryan Hudson to help oversee that and to work with Player Performance Manager John Kain, and we’re now at a really exciting point to make strides over the next few years.

“It will take time and it’s something that doesn’t just happen overnight, but we’re very confident that in the years to come we are going to see more and more local youngsters pulling on the jersey of their hometown club.

“Thanks to members of Club 1873 and their contribution then we are in a healthy position to do that.”

As well as retaining the majority of the under 18′s squad from 2012, Curtis McDonald has signed professional terms after new Youth Development Manager Ryan Hudson tempted the full-back away from Castleford. The 18-year-old has been described as a tough athlete with quick feet to add to his desire to make it into a Super League player. Hudson trained alongside the youngster at the Tigers and has seen his professionalism first hand and his dedication to reach the top.

Daniel Maskill has also joined from Huddersfield Giants who is a hooker with promise after arriving from the John Smiths Stadium. The newly installed Hudson has brought Maskill into the squad for his superb ball skill and vision of the game.

As well as their evening training sessions, the youngsters will be invited to spend time during the week at the club to get extra tactical and technical coaching plus enhance their education under the guidance of Wildcats Director of Education Mark Winder.

The Wildcats under 19 squad for 2013 as it stands is:

Brandon Conway

Ben Shulver*

Josh Kitterick*

Jack Anderson

Reece Trout*

Jamahle Hunte*

Tom Rogers*

Jack Hartness*

Josh Murphy

Sam Doherty

James Healy*

Will Martin*

Mathew Cook*

Danny Mirfin*

Brad Day

Corbyn Kilday

Luke Metcalf

Cameron Leeming

Daniel Maskill*

Curtis McDonald*

* Denotes players who have signed their first professional contract with the club for 2013.

Sign up for Club 1873 today by visiting either of our retail outlets at the Riding Centre Store or Rapid Solicitors Stadium Box Office, or call 01924 201548/211611 and invest in the future of your club.

This is Wakefield. Together We Are Stronger.

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