I HAVE to admit I had mixed emotions when Rich (Agar) said I’d made the Super League Dream Team.
He told me in front of all the Wakefield boys after the Castleford win on Sunday and obviously I was really happy with it at first.
Then he told me when the press conference was so that sort of dampened things down a bit…
It was on Monday at 2pm so it meant I had a delayed start to our Mad Monday.
For those who don’t know about it, it is the traditional end-of-season get-together that all clubs have. Basically, the Monday after their final match all the players go out for a drink, starting pretty early in the morning.
It’s a little bit more nerve-racking than a game itself sometimes. Everyone is really built up for it. You get a few different characters coming out of their shell. Some people are really excited, buzzing around and getting people organised and it’s definitely quite an exciting time as, obviously, through the season you don’t really get much chance to enjoy yourself and have a drink with your team-mates.
If you’re not in the Challenge Cup you sometimes might get a weekend off and the coaches might let you go let your hair down a bit but, ordinarily, there’s few other opportunities. So, it’s nice to unwind a little bit and enjoy company with your pals.
I didn’t get finished at the Dream Team press conference at Huddersfield until mid-afternoon so I had to think about my tactics when it came to catching up. I didn’t want to go too hard and write myself off too early but to catch up with the likes of Richie Mathers I had to have a few quick ones.
Some lads don’t get out much during the year. Whether they’re not allowed by their missus or whatever. Richie’s one of those and he does get a bit more excitable!
We always go in fancy dress and I was the wrestler ‘Macho Man’ Randy Savage this year but I can’t divulge anything that happened as it’s an unwritten code – what happens on Mad Monday stays on Mad Monday!
As for getting in the Dream Team for the first time, it’s honestly not something I ever thought about.
Obviously I knew Rich was trying to build a competitive squad at Wakefield and he’s done a really good job in doing so.
I knew if that was going to happen I had a really strong faith in my own ability even though I’d had a frustrating time before at Huddersfield Giants.
What’s really helped is playing on a really good right edge. Obviously, I’ve had Tim Smith inside me for the majority of the year and he’s probably the best half-back I’ve ever played with so he’s been really good for me.
But also just the shape our conditioner Martin Clawson has got me in this season. I’m a lot fitter than I’ve ever been and that’s definitely helped me having pretty much played 80 minutes each week which is something I’ve never done before.
A lot is happening at Wildcats with the money issues and speculation whether more players will be sold.
Obviously I’ve just signed a three-year deal so there’s not much I can really do about it. As long as we don’t sell any more of our big stars (Smith went to Salford) I’m really happy.
It was great to end with that win over Cas. A lot of people didn’t have much to play for but ours was a local derby.
So, it was definitely nice to get those local bragging rights for the fans more than anything as they’ve gone through a frustrating time of late, too.
Interview by Dave Craven.