2012 has certainly been a year to remember for Wildcats hooker Kyle Wood after returning to Wakefield from Huddersfield last year and becoming an ever present at the Rapid Solicitors Stadium.
The 23-year-old was given the number 7 jersey by newly installed head coach Richard Agar at the beginning of the season after impressing in pre-season and quickly established himself as a quality impact player off the interchange bench.
Wood came through the Wildcats youth structure but decided to move across West Yorkshire to the Giants in 2009 before spending time out on-loan at Castleford and Batley and only played 11 Super League games in his two years away from Trinity. On his return to the club where he learnt his trade he went on to make 29 first team appearances meaning he featured in every game during 2012.
The playmaker also scored six tries and directly set-up four scores in the 27 regular Super League rounds including vitally getting over the line himself in the unforgettable home victories over St. Helens and Leeds Rhinos. Wood was delighted with the way his first year back panned out.
“I think we were quite surprised to get in the top eight and I think the last seven or eight games we were very pleased because we gelled as a team. Our spirit got us through to the end of the season and into the play-offs and we couldn’t have been happier,” said Wood.
12 months ago when Agar brought the ball player into the club he described his new signing as “another piece in the puzzle” and after working under the head coach for a year Wood himself explains how good a job the Wildcats boss has done since arriving at the Rapid Solicitors Stadium.
“Rich has done really well and in pre-season we tried to gel the best we could and the first half of the season it took time. The back end of the year we showed what we can do and the style he wanted us to play shone through and we did that for him.
“There were people playing out of position in pre-season and we were struggling to get a full team out together and when everybody came back that really helped us because we could finally train as a full squad.
“It is going to help having a consistent squad going into the start of pre-season this time around and hopefully we can keep the squad together like we did in the last few games of the season which will help us kick on next year from where we left off from the back half of last season.”
After being a ‘bit-part player’ in his time at the Giants, Wood relished the opportunity of running out every week in the red, white and blue and featuring in every game from the first game against Widnes to the play-off defeat at Headingley he was a consistent performer.
“I couldn’t be happier at playing every game last season and I want to keep going and play as many games as I can next year.
“From 2011 when I only got about seven games at Huddersfield and the year before that I only got a couple so to come and play in every game all season, I honestly couldn’t be happier.
“It has been a great move. Wakefield have been good for me by giving me plenty of game time and I think I have improved as a player through that because I needed the experience and I have gained confidence from doing so.”
The hooker would often enter the field in the latter part of the first half as Paul Aiton would move into the second-row or replace Andy Ellis in a direct rotation and Wood explains why him coming off the bench is a successful tactic.
“Paul Aiton is a real tough player and he took the initial sting out of the game tackling the other teams big forwards then I come on when teams are a bit more tired and I try and get them around the ruck with my speed. Paul and Andy Ellis when he played were awesome for me last season by really laying the platform for me to come off the bench.
“All we can do is have a really good pre-season, train as hard as we can and hopefully take the form from the end of last season into 2012 and produce a strong start to the campaign.”
Have you bought your Wildcats 2013 Gold Membership yet to join Wood and the Trinity team for all 13 home Super League games yet? After the rapid rise on and off the field in the first full season of the new era at the club next year is set to be even better!
Adults Memberships are just £125, 16-21 year olds £50 while concessions £85 if you buy before October 31st and you can purchase yours today by clicking online HERE, visiting either of the clubs retail outlets at the Ridings Centre Store or Rapid Solicitors Stadium Box Office or alternatively calling 01924 201548 / 211611.
This is Wakefield. Together We Are Stronger.