WELLO’S WORLD: Wilko’s a true team player

Jon Wilkin always puts the team first.
Jon Wilkin always puts the team first.
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In the space of a week we have played games in weather conditions that are pretty much at opposite ends of the spectrum.

Last week at home to Hull KR we had constant rainfall with players sliding all over the place then yesterday at Castleford it was a different challenge in sweltering conditions.

But then again the only predictable thing about the British weather is its unpredictability.

It was really pleasing to get the win on Sunday and respond in a positive manner to last weeks disappointment.

As I’ve eluded to the conditions were very tough, with it being so hot it puts huge demands on the body and typically a player can lose between four and six kilograms playing in such heat.

In preparation for a game like that it is really important to stay on top of your hydration and 48 hours prior to the game you are having a steady intake of water and electrolytes to prepare yourself for the demands of the game.

The game itself was again a little inconsistent, the first half in particular we made it very difficult for ourselves by giving away possession all to often and at 10-0 down then 16-6 down we gave ourselves a fair bit to do.

We allowed Rangi Chase far to much time and space and in doing so we left ourselves very vulnerable as he is a player with great ability.

Our second half was much better and we showed that when we play direct and retain possession that we are a very difficult team to play against. We scored some good tries and turned the game around very well.

I thought Jon Wilkin was very good for us and for me Wilko is one of those players who adds so much value to the team and you only notice how much so when he isn’t there.

One of Wilko’s main qualities is his selflessness. He always puts the team first and that is evident by the number of different roles that he has played already this season.

It’s not necessarily what is best for him but he understands the team ethic and is an example to all players that you have to do what it necessary to help out the team.

We saw that on Sunday when he started the game in the halves and finished the game playing at hooker after James Roby left the field through injury and he was instrumental in us going on to win the game.

g WE had yet another debutant at the weekend with young front rower Greg Richards making his bow from the bench and he did very well.

Greg has only been full time with our squad for a few weeks but has been very impressive in training, not only with his ability but his attitude and willingness to learn.

He will no doubt continue to develop and is another young player who has the potential to go a long way in the game.

I was speaking to Greg prior to the game and he admitted that he was feeling pretty nervous which is understandable and not necessarily a bad thing.

From my point of view in those situations its important to reassure young players that they are there on merit, to play their natural game and keep things simple.

That same message was given to me when I made my debut back in 1998 when incidentally Greg Richards was three-years-old, that does make me quite feel old but it shows that over that period of time simplicity is key to performing consistently.

g LAST week the club announced that Francis Meli will leave at the end of the season to join up with Salford next season.

Francis has been great to play alongside and not only is he a great player but is a fun guy to have around.

Having come to the club at the start of the 2006 season Francis has made 216 appearances for the club scoring 140 tries which is a fantastic return.

What I admire most about Francis is that he is a player who spends a lot of time with younger players and passes on his advice and invests his time into helping them away from rugby.

These are qualities that not everybody would see but go along way to helping young players settle in. Josh Jones and Tommy Makinson in particular are like Francis’s adopted sons and follow him around in a single file like little ducklings in anticipation of his next piece of advice.

g WITH no game this coming weekend we again have the opportunity to put some extra work into our game on the training field.

In a couple of weeks time we host Wigan on a Monday night which is obviously a very important game and hopefully the extra preparation will serve us well.

Thanks for the continued support - Wello