New signing Ashley Gibson has expressed how happy he is to have joined the Wildcats squad in pre season training after a month off.
Gibson joined the Wildcats last month after signing a two year deal from Super League side and Wildcats’ local rivals Castleford Tigers. He has a wealth of Super League experience after featuring in three Super League sides since his debut for Leeds Rhinos in 2005 scoring a hat-trick against Leigh Centurions.
“I am pleased to be back” Gibson stated. “It is a new start for me joining a new team; I have settled in quite well so far which is good.”
The centre is a handful of players who has completed a second week in pre season training. A few of the new recruits, younger players and those who are carrying a few knocks from last season joined Brian Smith at Featherstone Rovers to take part in a few extra sessions before the remainder of the squad joined them this week.
“It has been nice to have a break, but after a few weeks you are ready to get back into it and get back with the back and get back into training.
“I came in last week with a few of the young boys and got stuck into a bit of rehab, in the off season I had a bit of a clear out of my ankle so I needed to take it steady. This week I have been able to get back into the actual training which is good.
“We have got two groups in now as a lot more of the players are back. There’s a lot more stuff you can do with a full squad here, they have definitely upped the intensity in training.”
The 29-year old is fortunate to link back up with a few former teammates from both Castleford Tigers and Salford Red Devils which has made his move to the club a lot smoother.
He continued, “I know quite a few of the boys here, which has helped me a lot when I joined. Stu (Stuart Howarth) and Tash (Matty Ashurst) who I played with at Salford were in training with me last week which was good. There’s also a few of the Cas lads here, so it has made my move much easier for me to settle in.”
Gibson who made 28 appearances at the Tigers scoring 11 tries since 2014 has expressed his delight at working under Head Coach, Brian Smith stating that the Australian had a great vision for the club in 2016.
“When I first came over I went to meet Brian at his house, I was there for quite a while and had a really good chat with him, he sold to me what he wanted to achieve and what he wanted with the club which was one of the reasons I knew I wanted to be a Wildcats’ player.
“He is a pretty good coach, very switched on and pretty strict, I think he will get the best out of every player.
Gibson is primarily a centre but has made a few appearances on the field as a winger. Brian Smith has handed him the number four jersey hinting at a role Gibson could be undertaking in the 2016 season.
“I spoke to Brian when I first signed and we spoke about centre being the preferred position but if I have to slot into any other roles then I am more than happy to do that.”
Gibson has had his first opportunity to meet the Wildcats’ fans when he took part in unveiling the new 2016 home jersey last weekend at the Ridings Centre before heading back to the club shop to sign autographs and have his picture taken.
“I didn’t expect that many people to be there, it was pretty good to get to be introduced to them. They were all really nice and welcoming which is good to see.”