IT is a new club yet somehow almost all the same for Wakefield Trinity Wildcats signing Ashley Gibson.
The winger/centre is one of Brian Smith’s leading recruits for 2016 after joining from neighbours Castleford Tigers.
Pre-season training usually helps new signings bed into their surroundings but there has not been much need for Gibson.
He is one of five players who made the same switch from Castleford in recent months and there are plenty of other familiar faces for him as Trinity prepare for Super League.
“There’s Jordan Tansey who I was at Cas with but also started with in the Leeds Rhinos academy,” explained Gibson.
“I just seem to follow him around everywhere. But there’s Scotty Moore, Liam Finn and Richie Owen whom I played with at Cas last season, too, plus a lot of Leeds lads like Nick Scruton, who came through the Academy with me into the Rhinos first team and ‘Tans’ plus Ben Jones-Bishop as well.
“Then there’s Matty Ashurst and Stuart Howarth whom I played with at Salford so there are quite a few familiar faces.
“It’s just made it easier settling in – it doesn’t seem much different to be honest!”
Gibson, 29, should be an astute acquisition for Trinity; he scored nine tries in 22 games for Castleford last term, showing he was back to near his best form, impressing at both centre and on the wing.
He had the opportunity to stay at Wheldon Road at one point but has signed for Wakefield and admitted: “I’m just looking to build on that.
“I started off at centre last season, then a bit of winger which I’d not played for a few years. I’ll try to get that centre spot here and build on it. It is my favourite role. When I was younger I used to play hooker and loose-forward in the Rhinos academy but centre is probably my best spot and I had a few good games there last season.”
Wakefied may have finished bottom in 2015 and only secured their Super League safety after victory over Bradford Bulls in the ‘Million Pound Game’.
But he believes they can build under Smith, saying: “Brian has loads of experience himself – his stats as a coach speak for themselves – and once I went to meet him near the end of the season, he sold it to me what he wanted to get out of Wakefield.”