Signed as a promising 19-year-old, to starring as an England international, Wakefield Trinity centre, Reece Lyne, has turned into one of Super League’s most consistent performers. Now, after eight years plying his trade in sunny West Yorkshire, Lyne takes a relatively short trip down memory lane to give us an insight into his time with Trinity.
“It’s been a rollercoaster,” admits Lyne.
“But I have really enjoyed my time here. It was a bit sticky in the first few years when I was finding my feet but I absolutely love this club and it holds a special place in my heart.”
His ‘rollercoaster’ ride from a reluctant teenager to a Super League star has not been all sunshine and rainbows, though. After starting his career at his hometown club of Hull FC, Lyne made a try-scoring start to his first-grade career, sliding over against Salford as a 17-year-old with his whole future ahead of him.
A show-stopping start to his Hull FC career proved to be the first of only two tries at the KCOM Stadium, with a distinct lack of first-team chances proving difficult. Then, after only a handful of starts in his inaugural season with the Airlie Birds, Lyne headed down the M62 in hope to kick-on and establish himself in Super League.
“I was really excited to get going!” Lyne said, regarding his move to the Mobile Rocket Stadium.
“My main reason for coming over was the opportunity to get some more game time. My old head coach, Richard Agar, was in charge of Wakefield at the time and I wasn’t getting too much of a chance at Hull FC.
“I felt that I wanted a fresh start. So, I spoke to Rich and there was an opportunity to come over to Wakefield and work with him again, which really excited me.“
Having fallen to a debut defeat at Odsal against Bradford, Lyne and Wakefield picked up their first points of the 2013 campaign with a hard-fought 36-20 victory over Hull KR, with Lyne crossing for a well-worked try.
“I can hardly remember my debut it’s been that long since,” he said with a chuckle. “But I remember crossing for a try on my first home game and getting plenty of opportunities in that 2013 season.
“I was only 19 when I moved over and I was still getting to grips with the area. I can’t remember exactly how many games I played, but it was certainly a lot more than I was getting at Hull FC, so it was great to get that experience, fit into the group and enjoy my rugby again.”
Despite featuring regularly in his first season with the club, Lyne received some criticism from a segment of Trinity supporters and he admits he found it hard at times in the early days.
“It was difficult, there is no getting away from that, “ Lyne explained.
“I had it at Hull FC as well, they are a big club and at times you can be scrutinised, but you have to learn to deal with it at a young age.
“It is tough when you are a young player and you have to deal with that criticism, but as your career goes on and you get a bit older, you start to understand that not everyone is going to like you as a player and you have to learn to accept that.”
Resilience, hard work and his ability to push down external barriers prevailed, though, and Reece has since become a favourite with the Wakefield faithful. And in 2017, under Chris Chester, Lyne reached his first milestone, making his 100th Trinity appearance at the home of none other than, Hull FC.
“Any career milestone is important and I am proud to reach that,” he said.
“Obviously, the Hull FC fixture is one I always look forward to, so to make my 100th appearance at the KCOM against them was certainly special.
“When you join a club, that milestone does seem a long way away and they seem to creep up on you. When you first come into the side you have to establish yourself in the team, so to reach that and hit the milestones I have is special.”
Coming from a fresh-faced 19-year-old with a lot to learn, Lyne had soon established himself as one of the best centres in the league, with murmurs of an England call-up on the horizon. These off-the-cuff murmurs soon turned into speculation and before he knew it, a phone call from Jamie Peacock finally put some truth to the talking.
“I think I had just woken up because I was on the Knights’ squad list originally and I was waiting for a phone call from Paul Anderson, but it was actually Jamie Peacock who told me I had made the senior squad. It came as a real shock at the time, but I was over the moon.”
Just weeks after his inclusion, Lyne’s list of achievements just got that little more special, recognising a childhood dream in the process. On October 17 2018, an England international against France at Leigh Sports Village shifted Lyne onto the international scene, with Trinity team-mate Tom Johnstone scoring a 25-minute hat-trick to catapult the club into the limelight.
“It was a proud moment! Coming off the back of a good year and to have my family there made it special, but to represent Wakefield alongside Tom was unbelievable,” Lyne explained, taking a trip back down memory lane.
“I am not too sure of the last time Wakefield had two players representing them at international level, so it was a proud moment for me, my family and great to represent the club.”
It is not just on-field accolades Lyne has been accumulating throughout his career, though. In 2019, Stu Dickens and Rugby League Cares approached Reece with a new project offering young offenders advice to change their life around. Then, with the help of Trinity team-mates Pauli Pauli and David Fifita, Lyne embarked on the project at Wetherby Young Offenders Institution.
This great gesture was rewarded and after recognising all Reece’s help in the community, RFL president and former Arsenal skipper Tony Adams issued him with the first president’s award.
“It is a weird one, really, as it is a role that you go into without looking for any recognition for yourself,” Lyne explained.
“I went into that line of volunteering as a way to help the younger guys, so it isn’t something that you ever expect any personal recognition for.
“To get Tony Adams’ first president’s award was really humbling, as he is an iconic figure in football, who also does great work with numerous sports with his ‘Sporting Chance’ charity.
“So, I would have to say that it ranks up there as one of my proudest achievements.”
With over 150 appearances to his name, all in all, you could admit that Reece Lyne has had an pretty impressive career to date. However, with a World Cup on the horizon and club trophies up for grabs, the England international has never been more hungry.
“I want to win some silverware with the club,” said Reece, looking towards his future at Wakefield.
“It would be amazing to get to a final and I think that we have got the ability and calibre of players in the club to achieve that. So, hopefully, in my time, we can get to and win a major final, that has to be the ultimate aim.
“But for me, personally, I want to kick on within the international scene, but that will only happen if my club form is good. So, I have to keep putting in good performances week in, week out and hopefully, that will lead to something positive in the future.”