Wakefield Trinity Ladies head coach, Jason Talbot, has admitted that was “very pleased” with his side’s performance, despite defeat in their first pre-season outing of the season.
With an extremely new-look side from the one that competed in the Women’s Super League last year, the club has managed to recruit well in the off-season, pulling together a side ahead of their Championship opener against Hull KR in just under two weeks. However, to cap off a tough pre-season, the side fell to the hands of Dewsbury Moor at the weekend, with preparations continuing to take place within the camp, “I was very pleased,” explained Talbot
“We haven’t had the best pre-season and know we still have a lot to work on. Despite this, the girls did everything we asked of them. There were loads of smiling faces after the game. It’s not something we’ve not seen here for a while, and it shows that we all understand what our limitations are at the moment, and we know we performed well.”
Returning players Sophia Liu and Olivia Cummins played unfamiliar positions at the weekend, filling in at the halfback role as the side tried to unlock the Dewsbury defence, while Hebe Forbes made her debut in the fullback position, playing much of last season in centre.
As the Trinity looked to find their feet on a chilly afternoon in West Yorkshire, Dewsbury added points onto the board in the first half. Wakefield continued, however, and it didn’t take new signing, Katie Paul, long to find her first try in Red, White & Blue in the second period.
The forward took the ball excellently, following a good line, as she powered her way across the whitewash to give the side some much-needed encouragement as the game drew to a close.
“With such a small squad at the moment, our players will need to be versatile,” said Jason.
“I had spoken to Olivia [Cummins] and Sophia [Liu] a few weeks ago about playing in the halves. They are both experienced players and have the knowledge and skills to fill those roles.
“It’s just a case of building their confidence and getting them game time together. It’s a similar story with Hebe [Forbes] at fullback. This is not a position she is accustomed to and she was a bit nervous, but I had a chat with her before the game and it seemed to work. I thought she played outstanding.”
With a young side, the new bodies in the squad are still adjusting to this level. A solid start for our Trinity youngsters brought fresh optimism on Sunday as the coaching staff looks to develop confidence over the coming weeks, something that will be important come the season ahead.
“The average of this squad is just over 18 years old at the moment,” Talbot followed.
“We had 11 players making their debut on Sunday, six of those were playing open age for the first time. It was a huge step for them and they all coped with it very well.”
Attention now turns to Hull KR on Sunday 12th March, and with the season coming thick & fast, the squad will now prepare to face the Robins in our first competitive match of the season.
“We need to work on playing better as a team. Individually, we performed well, but we need more game time together.
“We will improve with every game.”