Versatile new Wakefield Trinity player Lee Gaskell sure he has made right move

THE various permutations and potential link-ups for Wakefield Trinity in 2022 is something that “excites” new signing Lee Gaskell.

He is looking to take his game to another level at Belle Vue following his move from West Yorkshire neighbours Huddersfield Giants.

Whether that is at half-back or full-back, where he is similarly effective, even Gaskell himself insists he does not know.

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The 31-year-old, of course, has also previously flourished at centre. With the sizeable void of Joe Westerman to fill following the loose forward’s departure to Castleford Tigers, you could even imagine him cutting a role for himself at No13 if needed.

What Gaskell is sure of, though, is that everything is set for him to deliver, wherever head coach Willie Poching sees fit.

He told The Yorkshire Post: “That is the exciting part. You have so many good attacking players here and such good strike in this Wakefield side.

“There’s (halves) Jacob Miller and Mason Lino and (full-back) Max Jowitt and then further out when you see the wingers they have it is exciting.

“I’m hoping to kick on with some good rugby this year.

Excited: Lee Gaskell, above, says he made the right move joining Wakefield Trinity (Picture: PA)

“We’ve not really had that (position) conversation.

“I just wanted to come and hit the ground running and do whatever helps the team best.

“Pre-season is a time to cement your place. Whatever Willie feels best with, I’m okay with it.”

The irony is that, when Gaskell agreed to sign a two-year deal and it was announced in June, Chris Chester was in charge.

Wakefield Trinity head coach Willie Poching (Picture: PA)

He was sacked a couple of months later so the former St Helens playmaker started life at Trinity under a different head coach.

That said, it has not been too disorientating; Poching was one of his assistant coaches at Huddersfield in 2019 while incoming Wakefield assistant Francis Cummins was his boss when he joined Bradford Bulls from Salford Red Devils in 2014.

“That’s the good thing: I’ve worked with Willie and I’ve also worked with Franny before as well,” he said.

“They know what type of player I am and what to expect from me.

Francis Cummins (Picture: Jonathan Gawthorpe)

“So far it’s been good. You want to go somewhere where you know you’ll enjoy it.

“Franny is a great bloke and he also has a lot of knowledge about the game. He brings in some drills that other coaches don’t do and he’s very hands-on with your hand-eye skill which is good.

“We do mini-skills sessions every day which is good and under fatigue. Hopefully our skill stands up as that’s what the best teams do; sometimes when you have Saints on the ropes they’ll come up with a special play.

“Hopefully we can take that into our game next season.”

Wakefield won five of their final seven games of last term under caretaker coach Poching for the New Zealander to prove his worth and secure the job on a permanent basis.

Trinity, who have also added Warrington Wolves winger Tom Lineham, Scotland hooker Liam Hood and London Broncos prop Sadiq Adebiyi, will seek that sort of consistency from the start of the next campaign.

Fans will be pleased to hear Gaskell is fit and firing; he was restricted to just 11 games this year and did not play again after suffering an ankle injury in the loss against Hull FC in June.

“I was enjoying it at that point and was disappointing how it all ended,” he recalled.

“We (Huddersfield) were going on a good run, playing some decent rugby and then I got that bad ankle injury which was annoying as it came out of nothing with the last kick of the game.

“It was frustrating. Sometimes you can pull a hamstring or a calf and know it’s four to six weeks and it’s just something that happens. But the ankle issue came from nothing and I missed a few months.

“When I came back it just kept swelling up and that was the most frustrating part; you felt good but then you started running and it just wasn’t ready.

“I’d ruptured my ligament but it didn’t need surgery which was good. It’s all good now. I did bits in the off-season to keep on top of it and now it’s great.”

Gaskell had played almost 100 games for Huddersfield since joining from Bradford in 2017 and turned down a new offer to stay.

His decision surprised many but he insisted: “It was just one of those decisions.

“I loved my time at Giants and we were playing some good rugby. I spoke to a few clubs and Huddersfield and sometimes you need a freshen up.

“Wakefield came in and I liked what they said. It felt right to move to a different environment to test myself. I’m two weeks in now here and really settled.”