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Last Updated: Tuesday, 30 January 2007, 11:16 GMT
Demetriou tips Wildcats comeback
By Phil Gordos

Jason Demetriou
Demetriou is confident Wakefield can avoid the relegation battle
Wakefield skipper Jason Demetriou insists the Wildcats can cause a few shocks in Super League XII.

The Wildcats only avoided the drop last season by beating Castleford on the final weekend, but Demetriou says they will be a tougher proposition in 2007.

"There are a lot of knockers out there, but there always are at this time of year," he told BBC Sport.

"We just want to start well. After that, it's week by week, but I think Wakefield will surprise a few people."

It would be a major shock if Demetriou said anything else.

Most people outside of the club think this is destined to be another year of toil for the Yorkshire outfit.

We finished last season on such a positive note

Jason Demetriou

But the 31-year-old Australian says there are genuine reasons for hope and is looking forward to proving the critics wrong.

"We finished last season on such a positive note and we've taken that positive attitude into pre-season," he said. "We can't wait for the first game."

Demetriou also feels the club have made some canny signings.

David Solomona, Michael Korkidas and Monty Betham have all left, but Danny Sculthorpe, Brett Ferres and Waine Pryce have replaced them.

"Players come and go all the time," said Demetriou.

"There is not point worrying what has happened in the past. All we can do is focus on the squad we've got.

"Danny is one of the best ball-handling props in the game and had a great season with Castleford last year.

Wakefield coach John Kear
To have a coach as well-established and as knowledgeable about the game as John Kear is a real bonus

Jason Demetriou

"Brett is a guy with a big future. He has got a lot of talent, as his performances for England have showed.

"If he can produce that kind of form for Wakefield on a regular basis, I think he can be the find of the season.

"As for Waine, I'm a big fan of his. His go-forward is excellent and he has a lot of ability.

"He had a great season for Castleford before he got injured but, in my view, he can go to another level."

Demetriou is also excited about the rest of the squad, both the newcomers and those players who have been at Belle Vue for a while.

"The young guys we have signed are not just squad players, they are guys who are going to be pushing the first-teamers all the way," he said.

"Everyone in the squad has a good chance of playing, and that competition in training has started to show and can only be good for the club."

One added bonus for Wakefield is the return of winger Semi Tadulala.

The giant Fijian looked to have played his last game for the club when it emerged he was negotiating a move to rugby union, with Gloucester leading the race for his services.

But the move broke down and he ended up back with the Wildcats.

"He is one the best go-forward wingers in the league and he was our leading tryscorer last season with 17, so to lose him would have been a big blow," said Demetriou.

"We weren't expecting him back but I spoke to him several times while he was waiting to see what happened.

"He was quite happy to see out his contract and play for Wakefield. It was never a problem for him.

"He is really focused and wants to do well for the club."

We want to get our confidence up early so we can enjoy our rugby rather than being subjected to talk of a relegation battle

Jason Demetriou

So does coach John Kear.

According to Demetriou, he is perhaps the most crucial piece in the Wakefield jigsaw.

"To have a coach as well-established and as knowledgeable about the game is a real bonus," he said.

"When he speaks everyone is deep in concentration, listening to what he is saying.

"It'd been the best pre-season I've had since I've been at the club and the professionalism in training has been a lot better than it has been in previous years."

Kear was the man who orchestrated Wakefield's dramatic escape from relegation last year, steering them to victory in four of their last six games.

But only after the former England coach had been offloaded by Hull FC earlier in the season.

"I'm very surprised Hull let him go," said Demetriou.

"I don't know what happened but he has been open and honest with every player in the squad, and you can't ask for more from a coach.

"He is really enthusiastic about his job and is really passionate about Wakefield being a successful team. That rubs off on everyone."

Wakefield begin their season with a trip to Super League newcomers Hull KR on 10 February.

"Everything is geared up for that first game and we are building ourselves up for a big start," said Demetriou.

"We want to get our confidence up early so we can enjoy our rugby rather than being subjected to talk of a relegation battle which seems to be brought after round three.

"I'm not making any predictions, but we're confident."



SEE ALSO
Wildcats suffer Sculthorpe injury
19 Jan 07 |  Wakefield
Tadulala returns to the Wildcats
10 Jan 07 |  Wakefield
Pryce poised to resume training
13 Dec 06 |  Wakefield
Ferres completes Wakefield move
09 Nov 06 |  Bradford


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