Mathers signs permanent Wakefield deal
Wakefield Trinity Wildcats have made full-back Richard Mathers’ loan move permanent after completing his signing from Castleford Tigers on a two-year contract.
The former Leeds Rhinos, Wigan Warriors and Warrington Wolves player made 27 appearances for the Wildcats in 2012 after joining them on loan at the start of the season and was rewarded for an impressive string of performances with the vice-captaincy.
“The feeling I have is one of a big relief,” Mathers said. “I have been thankful throughout to Wakefield and it was never in question I wanted to stay because I enjoyed it so much last year.
“To get a two-year deal and represent the club while hopefully playing a big part is something that I really am delighted about.
“I can’t remember the last time I enjoyed a season as much. We evolved as a team as we found our way towards the back half of the season and it was a great journey.”
Mathers played a key role in Wakefield’s run to the play-offs and believes the future for the club is bright.
The Wildcats have also made stand-off Paul Sykes’ move from Bradford Bulls permanent and signed State of Origin prop Justin Poore and Hull FC winger Reece Lyne.
“I think we have that continuity because there will not be too much chopping and changing,” Mathers said.
“We started pre-season with 17 new players and by the time we finished the season we had 20 new players throughout the season and that is just unbelievable.
“It has probably gone unnoticed that the achievement in making the top eight with that fantastic run to say how we started the season new together, including the coaching staff.”
Stuart Dickens, Featherstone Rovers’ long-serving captain, has announced his retirement in order to join the coaching staff of neighbours Wakefield.
The 32-year-old prop forward, who has spent his entire playing career with Rovers apart from a nine-game spell in Super League with Salford City Reds in 2005, has been appointed as the Wildcats’ new Under-19s coach.
“Wakefield is my hometown club so I will be honoured to become part of the coaching staff,” said Dickens, who made more than 400 appearances for Featherstone since making his debut in 1998.
“There has been communication between the clubs for a number of weeks but for me it’s all happened quickly.
“In that time I’ve had to make a decision to hang up my boots and retire from playing, pack my day job in and take this job.
“It’s been a massive decision but quite an easy one too once I sat down and talked about it.
“There comes a time in everybody’s career when you have to pack in playing.
“I was contracted to play for another year but I’ve been struggling with a couple of injuries towards the end of last season and now it’s finished I have still not totally got over them.
“Things were going through my mind a little bit so once this opportunity came up it made my mind up.”