THERE was a time Kyle Wood thought relentless injury torment might end his career but now, ahead of his third spell with Wakefield Trinity, he feels ready to produce his best form yet.
The lively half-back/hooker endured some torrid luck at Huddersfield Giants, suffering a torn cruciate ligament in 2014 and then a badly broken foot the following year that left complicated damage.
Wood returned to fitness last term only to be embroiled in a relegation fight and he is glad to be able to start afresh with Wakefield this season, having signed a two-year deal.
“I got back from that ACL, played another 20 games and then did the foot which was the bad one,” he recalled.
“With back-to-back injuries like that, I was laid up in bed thinking this is tough to get out.
“But I had some good staff back at Huddersfield and they got me through it even if things didn’t work out as we wanted last year.
“I feel like I’m back to full fitness now and, hopefully, I can show my potential here.
“I think I have a lot more to show than what I’ve done before after being held back by injuries.
“I’m 27 now and, hopefully, these will be my peak years at Wakefield to play as well as I can.”
His chances of doing that might be helped by the fact he knows where he will be playing in contrast to Huddersfield where, for much of the last three-and-a-half years, he has flicked between scrum-half, hooker and the bench.
“Chris Chester has told me I’ll play as a hooker here which is good really as it’s one focus,” said Wood, who was originally with Trinity’s academy before spells at Doncaster, Sheffield Eagles and Huddersfield led him to rejoin Wakefield for another stint in 2012 and 2013.
“I can focus on that but he knows I can play half if there’s a big injury-crisis.
“At nine, there’s me, Mikey (Sio) and young Brad Moules while Liam Finn can go there, too, if asked to, so there’s competition for places at hooker and also in the half-backs.
“We’ve a lot creative players and can show good attacking flair this year.”
Wood, who won the 2013 League Leaders’ Shield in his second spell at Huddersfield, hopes to feature against home-town Castleford Tigers in tomorrow’s friendly at Belle Vue as Wakefield step up preparations for their Super League opener against Hull FC on February 12.
Trinity came eighth last term and Wood hopes to be able to inspire them to another top-eight spot.
“Chris has put together a really good squad over the last couple of years and, hopefully, the recruits this season can make the team better still,” he said, with Giants colleagues Craig Huby and Scott Grix also joining him there.
“When I was here last, we had a great year, finishing eighth when everyone tipped us to come 14th (bottom).
“There’s still a few faces around from then, like the captain, Danny Kirmond, and it’s been an easy transition back in.”