Wakefield Wildcats can today announce Paul Sykes has signed on a one-year contract after impressing on loan from Bradford Bulls.
The goal-kicker has enjoyed success since arriving at the Rapid Solicitors Stadium in March, especially since switching from the centres to play alongside instrumental scrum-half Tim Smith.
Sykes made his debut in the away defeat to London Broncos and has since gone on to score in every game, including crucial last gasp drop goal winners against St. Helens and Hull KR that provided two of the most exciting finishes in Super League XVII.
The 31-year-old has amassed 155 Super League points since his arrival from Odsal and has formed a terrific partnership playing off the back of Smith since moving into the halves at Magic Weekend, a moment that signalled a change in fortune as Trinity went on to win 10 of their last 14 matches in the regular season to earn a place in the play-offs for only the third time in the summer era.
The experienced back is a former Great Britain and England international where he made his mark in the top flight with the Bulls and London Broncos before making the temporary switch to play under Richard Agar earlier this season.
Since his arrival, Sykes has played in every single game for the club and such was his partnership with Smith that the Wildcats were always keen to make the deal a permanent one.
Sykes completed the move in the last few days and he is excited to continue his time at the club.
“I’m so pleased it’s all done and dusted because I didn’t know if I was going back to Bradford or going to get the opportunity to sign for Wakefield, so I am glad it’s over the line now,” he said.
“I wasn’t playing much at Bradford and wasn’t getting much game time so to play 21 games on trot at Wakefield was pretty exciting times for myself.
“I really enjoyed myself and my time on loan so I just wanted it to continue. I’m really excited as to what is to come. We are having a bit of a break now but I am glad to get it all sorted and I’m already looking forward to the new season.”
Sykes’ switch from the centres to stand-off proved a real catalyst for the Wildcats end of season form and it is a role which he says he has relished.
“Playing in the halves is something I have really enjoyed. Tim is a general of the team and most things run through him and he does the talking around the park so it’s good to play off the back of him.
“I am very much looking forward to next year. If we can start off the way we finished this season and maintain that then we will be able to make the top eight once again. Rich is a very good coach and he likes to play an attacking way and it was great to be a part of that while I was on loan and I can’t wait for next year.
“The fans have been great and they have came in their numbers and they have been increasingly growing and they are important for everybody. They really did gather in their numbers for the last few games of the season and it was special to play in front of them cheering you on.”
“We’re pleased to get the deal done,” said Agar.
“His move to play at stand-off was probably a turning point and a strong factor in our showing in the second half of the year.
“The change of environment has been really good for Paul and he’s enjoyed his football with us. He became an integral part of what we’re trying to achieve.
“He’s at the stage of his career where he’s a seasoned, experienced professional and knows the game really well. He has found his role in our team and complimented the styles of the players around him as well as giving us an all important kicking game.”
The signing of Sykes follows hot on the heels of exciting youngster Reece Lyne joining from Hull FC as attention turns to 2013.
Make sure you’re supporting the Wildcats by purchasing your Gold Membership, by far and away the best value way to get behind captain Danny Kirmond and the rest of the squad next year.
Prices start at just £125 for adults, £25 for juniors, £50 for young adults aged 16-21 and £85 for concessions, plus come with a whole host of amazing savings and benefits that means your membership will virtually pay for itself in 2013.
This is Wakefield. Together We Are Stronger.