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Friday, 19 December 2014

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Ulverston's Wilkes pleased with Wakefield's progress

OLIVER Wilkes is confident his Wakefield side can continue to impress in Super League.

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COOL FOR CATS Oliver Wilkes in action for Wakefield in pre-season against Doncaster SIG KASATKIN/RLPHOTOS.COM

The Ulverstonian prop, a former Barrow RL Academy player, has helped the Wildcats to victories in their last two games against Hull KR and London Broncos.

Those results made up for a poor start in defeat to Bradford Bulls, and Wilkes feels things are looking up at Belle Vue.

“It’s been a great start,” said the 32-year-old former Harlequins and Wigan player.

“The first week against Bradford, I think they shocked us as a team. I think the team as a whole thought we were just going to pick up where we left off last season, but it wasn’t to be.

“It was an early kick up the bum that I think we needed and I think the last two games have shown that we can compete and we can continue the form we showed at the end of last season.”

The aim for Wilkes and Co. now – under newly-appointed France coach Richard Agar – is to keep up their form and push to another play-offs berth, following last season’s success.

He added: “Our goal is obviously to make the play-offs again and be a competitive side, but it’s the old cliche that you take every game as it comes and let the league ladder look after itself.”

The next team standing in their way are in-form Huddersfield Giants – the only side in Super League with a 100 per cent record after three games.

Impressive victories over St Helens and Wigan – as well as a defeat of London – have pushed the Giants to the early-season summit and Wilkes knows he and his pack-mates will be especially challenged on Sunday.

But the experienced front-row forward is hopeful they can match up to their visitors and make home advantage count.

“They are an enormous side – Giants by name, giants by nature,” he laughed. “They will be a handful down the middle of the park, but hopefully we can compete with them.

“We’ve definitely got the attacking capabilities in the side and it is just dealing with their big pack, that will be the big task for the weekend.

“Wakefield are a competitive side on their own turf, so fingers crossed we can continue that and be a threat to any side who think they can come here and get three points.”

As for his own form, Wilkes has been happy with his performances in the Wakefield shirt so far this season.

At 32, he is no spring chicken, but also far from the end of his career as a prop, and he hopes he can continue to be an influence in the squad.

“I’m quite enjoying it at the minute,” said the former Ulverston Victoria High School pupil. “I’m 32 years old now and I’m not getting any younger, but I still feel good.

“The body’s in decent nick, so I just want to continue as long as I can. I’m happy doing what I’m doing and everything is going in the right direction, so everything is looking positive for myself.”

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