Head coach James Webster admits seeing Wakefield Trinity Wildcats safely avoid relegation as early as July is a “massive effort” given their chaotic build-up to the campaign.
The West Yorkshire club had to sell key players, make significant cut-backs and struggle with recruitment after financial problems embroiled them at the end of last season.
They were, therefore, tipped by many for the drop yet play in Perpignan tomorrow knowing their Super League status is, remarkably, already assured following results last weekend.
“I’m really happy with that,” said Webster, who has overseen an unbeaten five-game run since succeeding Richard Agar last month.
“At the start of the year the only real goal the bosses upstairs gave us was to get ourselves safe.
“It’s a massive effort from the club to have done that with seven games still to go.
“I’ve said before that the amount of people we let go, how late we got people in, the amount of disruption we had in the off-season was all unprecedented. I’d never seen it anywhere.
“It’s good the club seemed to find something and we can now just worry about the last seven games and nothing else.”
The Australian concedes Trinity’s relative success has even taken him by surprise.
“I’d have bitten your hand off at the start of the year to be in this position now,” he said.
“I didn’t expect us to be (safe), not with seven games and still 14 points to play for. It just shows what a big achievement it is.”
Webster hopes their late flourish will aid his bid to secure further high-quality signings for 2015.
He has already captured Hull KR utility back Craig Hall and Catalan prop Mickael Simon but would love to see a permanent deal secured for Tim Smith, the scrum-half who has been so instrumental since returning to Belle Vue on loan from Salford Red Devils last month.
“He’s still Salford’s player (for 2015) but if you asked Tim he’d probably want to play here and it’s likely (he’s available),” said Webster, knowing Salford have signed fellow Australian Michael Dobson for next term.
“His heart is here but we’ve not had contact yet and whether it happens or not... I wouldn’t put anything past the way things happen at certain clubs!”